Stories of Transformation: Temitope Taiwo
Last month we appointed Temitope as our new full-time Community Youth & Children's Worker. Read on to find out his story and his heart for this new role...
Tell us about yourself
Hey everyone! My name is Temitope Taiwo and I am a 23 year old full-time lover of Jesus (part-time book geek). I grew up as far north in London that one can get - the borough of Enfield and I attended the borough’s all-boys grammar school. After that, I went on to study Law, Business and Sociology for A-levels. I then journeyed far north again (there is something about north!) to study Business Management at the University of Derby. After receiving a 1st Class Honours degree, I headed to Bangladesh with Tearfund. This 3-month experience ignited a deep-rooted desire to work with young people to help them realise the potential and be all that God created and called them for.
Besides ordering and attempting to read more books than I have hours in the day, I also enjoy writing poetry and delving into theology. And before you label me with the book-worm title, I do get out… occasionally. I love to keep active, particularly long-distance running - I recently completed a 10 km race this year. The end goal is to one day run the marathon des sables (6 marathons over the course of 1 week in the Sahara Desert - wish me luck!)
Stories of Transformation: How has the Lord been transforming your heart and life?
I grew up in a rougher part of Enfield. At the time, drugs, crime and gang culture was prevalent and openly seen. There were deep-rooted divisions in different groups of young people and it was a very difficult place to grow up in. As the old adage goes, we are often a product of our environment. Unfortunately, this was true for me and I fell into the wrong groups in wrong places. I was expelled from school in year 9, despite having promising grades and potential. At that moment, and throughout my childhood I then found it difficult to stay on the right paths. This followed up to my first year of university, where stress, bad habits and wrong influences led to a extremely hard time with my mental health.
But there, in the midst of all of that mess and brokenness, God met me. I had always grown up in the church, but I only had a religion and not a relationship. It was then that the love of Jesus really impacted and transformed me at a youth conference in my second year (hence the passion I have for working with young people!). From that moment, there was a monumental change in literally everything! I excelled in my final two years at university - receiving the Dean’s Award for academic achievement and first class marks in all of my final year modules. I became a church youth leader. Broken relationships were mended. Best of all, I have found purpose and belonging in Jesus.
What has God laid on your heart at the moment for young people in Harrow? How can we pray for you?
I am super excited about the prospect of working with the local YMCA and Grange Farm estate. I believe that God has prepared a harvest in both places for young people to come to know Jesus and be transformed holistically through good youth work. All of this, however, will not be possible without prayer, and so it would be amazing if the church could pray that God would open doors. It may look like there is great turmoil in the youth today, but I strongly believe we, the church, have been called for such a time like this.