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Dreaming Big

Dreaming Big

Monday April 12

Rachel Macrae describes the influence of Church in shaping her life and dreams.

“AYE, right!” is a look I’ve come to recognise over the last few years when I’ve explained to people that I want to study science in the USA.

 I understand why that might be the case, growing up in the east end of Glasgow – an area considered one of the most deprived in Scotland, the mentality of ‘Dreaming Big’ is often discouraged, made fun of even! This only made me all the more determined to get there – and it’s beginning to look like it just might happen! 

Currently I have offers from three and interviews from four universities in the USA, and when asked to contribute to Life and Work, I couldn’t help but reflect on how my involvement in my local church helped me get here. 

My first connection with Church was attending BEE, a child and youth work charity that runs within Easterhouse Parish Church. I was five years old when I first set foot into Church, and I had no idea then that going along to an afterschool group would end up having so much influence  on my life.  My participation in BEE led to me finding out about Girls’ Brigade and Sunday Club, which saw me spending a significant part  of my childhood in Easterhouse Parish Church. This led to me convincing my mum to have me baptised at seven years old.

 I became a young volunteer at BEE aged 13, and at 16 I was successful in applying for the role of BEE Play and Arts Worker which fits in perfectly around school and studying. I continued to attend Girls’ Brigade through to achieving my Brigader Brooch in 2020. My involvement in these organisations has given me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

The biggest of these, and the one which has had the most impact  was volunteering as part of the Glasgow Presbytery Rebuild South Africa Team  in 2018.  The trip involved building a house for a family who were disadvantaged. Seeing the poverty there and getting to meet and speak to people who were experiencing it, yet remaining so positive and hopeful, really opened my eyes to how blessed I am to have the things and opportunities that  I do. My compassion and understanding towards others grew through the trip. 

Whilst in South Africa I was chosen as a Young Build Site Manager, meaning I had to take the lead in organising and encouraging the team each day. This was extremely daunting as public speaking terrified me – but when put on the spot one day to give a ‘speech’ I grabbed the chance and was so proud of myself that I had!

When we returned from South Africa, EPC had arranged for us to go to schools and churches to speak about the trip and thank people who had helped us to fund it.  I surprised myself by being able to get up in front of all different groups of people to share my experience, as my confidence had grown so much through the trip.

 Recently, I was elected as School Captain/ Head Girl, which required me to make a speech in front of the whole school explaining why I was a suitable candidate.  I know that without my experiences through Church I wouldn’t have had the confidence to be able to do that.

 Applying for university in another country has been a challenge, with additional exams and tests to pass, and interviews being held via video calls.

 I am so excited at the offers I’ve had and for what the future holds, and I am very grateful for the influence my local Church has had in getting me here!

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