Melanie shares her faith journey from Solomon Islands to Australia's Central Coast
In February 2015, Melanie Tolilalo from the Solomon Islands traveled to NSW Central Coast to start her discipleship journey with the Salvos Discipleship School. She had enrolled in their one-year residential discipleship program Furnace, designed to refine a person like silver and purify them like gold to be a worker for the kingdom of God.
“It was hard for me to leave my family and go to another country, but I took the first step of faith,” shared Melanie. “It was a great journey with so many people standing by your side through the one year course. It's a once in a life time changing journey on so many things you never knew about.”
The School exists to see sold out Jesus followers pursuing God and His calling on their lives and this means that the program is not for the faint hearted, says Major Melissa Humpreys who along with her husband Andrew have led the School since 2009. Though Melanie would agree that the learning and shaping towards being discipled has not always been easy, the journey has been one of “overcoming” filled with experiences shared with fellow students and the Furnace team.
“After so many fun experiences filled with joy, laughter, and sadness I did not want to leave and go back to my family. I know it sounds funny, but it's true! You will never want to leave the people you meet through the journey that you have been on and shared, overcoming so many things with them.” But return she did, as Melanie went back to Solomon Islands after graduating in November 2015, to do the things she loved best.
“I went straight to doing what I love to do; helping the youth at my church and running the youth program, among other ministry work.”
Going to the Salvos Discipleship School was the first time Melanie had organized a trip to Australia and she is passionate about others making the same choice. “I don’t have words to express or explain my transformation while I was studying at the School or even after,” declares Melanie, who is thankful for the teamwork and management classes that have equipped her for work in Solomon Islands.
As a young adult, who boldly ventured to Australia on faith and wrote her own story, she now challenges others. “Why not you experience the journey and tell others what it’s like to be at the Salvos Discipleship School? I guarantee you will never regret the choice you make.”
“This is my story. What's yours?”