Rachel Gidney is a 20-year-old, second year university student studying primary teaching, specialising in early years. We spoke to Rachel about her story and how God has found ways for her to use her skills and passion for sharing Him. And she talks about how she stepped out in faith, even when people said she was too young.

How did you come to faith?

My Dad is a Bible college lecturer and my Mum is a vicar, so faith has always been a big part of life. At the age of three, I decided I wanted to follow Jesus, and I was baptised at six. 

Have you always wanted to share your faith?


My church growing up was held in the hall of the primary school that I went to and when I got baptised, I invited my whole class and teachers. My friends all knew that Jesus was a big part of my life. When I first went to Kenya, when I was 11, I did a presentation at school to raise money and was able to share that I would be sharing Jesus. 

Tell me a bit about how you ended up going to Kenya and how you heard God speak to you about it.

I would always get emotional at seeing charity videos like Water Aid and felt a real tug at the age of eight that I wanted to go and help these people. My parents were supportive but encouraged me to wait and to see what would happen. Every year we would go to Spring Harvest as a family, and one Easter when I was 10, in my children’s group there was a group raising money for the earthquake in Haiti. During that week, I felt a real call to overseas mission and with my parents we went to talk and look at all the mission stalls. There was lots of opportunities for us to go abroad as a family but they all said that I could just play with the other children while my parents helped out. After coming back from the week, I still felt a calling to go and my parents got in touch with Christian Mission Society (CMS). They were connected with an indigenous rural mission in Kenya. I was interviewed at 10 to see if I would be suitable and would be able to help. 

The organisation, Inter Christian Fellowships Evangelical Mission (IC FEM), accepted me and both my parents. During that summer, for one week we went out to Kenya where we visited outreach projects, I spoke in school assemblies, and taught in schools. Since that summer, bar Covid years, I have been back every year. 

How did you see God use your talents and skills to reach those around you? 

When I was younger, I was very shy and did not like public speaking. It is still not my favourite thing, but God has equipped me. I was very quiet and did not know about all the skills that I had. When I went to Kenya for the first time, I was thrown in at the deep end but this enabled me to see the gifts I had. People also gave me positive feedback when I shared in church about what I had done in Kenya, and I started to get more involved with children’s work at my local church. 

What advice would you give to people who think they do not have any gift, and to people who are wanting to step out? 

Get advice from people who have done it. There are many people out there who have already had similar experiences. Ask them questions. Have a good support network around you to pray for you and help you figure things out. Step out and give it a try. If God does not think this is the right thing, He will close those doors. God equips you and no age is insignificant. I first went to Kenya when I was 11 and God used the skills that I had. I remember thinking I would really love to go but I have nothing of use. During that time, I learnt so much about myself and who God had created me to be. Look at the community around you and the needs that your community has. I often talk about David and Goliath and how little people can do big things for God. 

Tell us a bit more about IC FEM.

IC FEM was set up by five Kenyans in the local village. The local tribes were at war with each other and five Kenyan Christians wanted to do something about it. The organisation wants to share God’s word through holy living and hard work. 99 per cent of the team is Kenyan, so it is a real privilege that they have welcomed me to be part of the team. They do outreach and have their own nursery, primary school and hospital. Their members are respected in the community, they are often called upon for advice and they have worked to provide unity between the tribes.

How can we support you and IC FEM?

I have set up IC FEM West Midlands and we meet to pray – you are welcome to join us for our monthly prayer or you can give to their work.

During the pandemic, Kenyans did not get furlough pay and nor did the IC FEM workers. Please pray for the staff workers and the communities. Please pray for me to continue to take opportunities, and continue in my teaching development.

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