Out of my depth…

We get a lot of questions from people of all different beliefs and in all different places through our CU events on campus. To be honest many of them are put on for the purpose of questions being asked like ‘text a toastie’ and ‘text a pancake’ where people text a question about God/christianity and we deliver the toastie/pancake with an answer. And then there’s question for a cookie where we have a stand of cookies and we engage in conversation with students and explore their questions of faith. And generally the questions we get are great and we have some amazing conversations and these are the things we pray for!

Some examples of questions we had at text a toastie on Friday…

Is there a prominent duck in the bible? Does God change clothes? Why is Jesus white in paintings?

And more serious ones like: If God was human what would he look like? What are the difference between the various versions of the bible? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where was Jesus in the 3 days between his death and resurrection?

All questions that I feel I could attempt to engage with.

But nothing prepared me for last nights and tea and toast.

I think the drunkeness of the people we’re talking to must defintely bring out the more difficult questions.

But what do you answer to someone asking about setting up a pagan society? And can you spread the word about it?

And someone asking what you think on the thought that without religion there would be nowhere near as much war?

And the girl crying on you and talking to you for an hour who has been thrown out of churches because her sister is a lesbian and she loves and accepts her for that?

I don’t think I have ever left an event feeling so useless, overwhelmed and out of my depth.

Luckily it’s not about me knowing any answers…

Trying to rest in the knowledge today that God knows each of these people more than they even do and he can speak to them exactly where they’re at.

Starting Uni

So 1000’s of students are starting university this month… personally I think this is one of the biggest transitions in life. For me it was a time of moving 7 hours away from home, for the longest amount of time I had ever been away, to a completely different place, not knowing anyone, not having a clue what to expect and not even knowing how to scramble an egg! University is it’s own unique world. I don’t think there is anyway to actually be prepared for it. This transition is seen by many as a way to become a ‘new’ person, to ‘re invent’ themselves. But many aren’t quite ready for everything that it throws at them. People get sucked into ways that they were sure they would stay away from, the freedom can be too much and what really have you got to lose in this new place where no one knows you? Others might want to start afresh, be a ‘better’ person. As you enter a new environment, meet new people, start a new course, have to clean and cook and learnt to be independent; you are challenged to think about how you look at things. Change is inevitable. And with change comes new challenges.

When I started uni, I was completely blessed by having had been able to get in touch with the Christian Union before I came (not that I had wanted to, but God had different plans and got me to make one of those spur of the moment decisions at a youth conference in the summer) and I made connections that would start me off on the path that was the best path to go along. That doesn’t mean I didn’t still struggle with the many temptations that uni brings, but it brought me to the place where I had people around that were supportive, and with that, an amazing, relaxed environment where I was free to just be me. Faults and fears and craziness and all. And looking back and at where I am now, God had bigger plans that I could ever anticipate in just that initial push to link up with the CU.

In the next 2 weeks we have got many many events as Falmouth freshers start uni. I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of new people and being able to get alongside them as others got alongside me. I’m also looking forward to the many exciting conversations that are had from events like text a toastie, question for a cookie and tea and toast.

In a place where people are experiencing the most ‘freedom’ they may have ever had, it is exciting to be able to share about the real freedom that is found in Christ. The security that my identity is in him and through that I can go into these 2 weeks reminding myself of that and thinking ‘what actually have I got to lose?’

Here’s a list of all the events happening, have a look at what’s going on, it’d be great to have people praying for them!

Freshers Week 1 Freshers Week 2

 

Relay One and Forum

So Relay started with one of three conferences with all the relay workers from across the UK. I wouldn’t say I was scared to start relay, I like meeting new people and I’m not exactly a shy person but I definitely had my reservations about it. One of my expectations was that everyone would be the same; super knowledgable and conservative and I wouldn’t fit in. But I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Relays are such a big mix of people; quiet, loud, crazy, sensible, extroverts, introverts… the list goes on. Some became Christians at university and others have been Christians as long as they can remember. And the mix of church backgrounds is also massive. After a few days you could literally feel everyone relax and settle into this new group of people.

From leading and being a part of bible studies, being in theological talks, equipping talks and practical sessions, having set quiet time and prayer time with your room mates to playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, jungle speed and hiding logs in peoples beds; it was an incredible week on so many levels.

Being in a secular environment over summer to being on a relay conference wasn’t an easy transition but it definitely created a journey of a week.

After 6 days of a relay conference, Forum hit. 1,200 CU leaders coming together to be equipped for living and speaking for Jesus in universities all over the UK. This is just an absolutely awesome environment for CU’s to focus their eyes on God, realise the incredibleness of what Jesus has done for us and learn about living for him; whilst praying together, planning missions weeks and getting to know each other more.

There is so much packed into the 5 days of Forum and we all certainly go away with many action plans and feeling refreshed and ready to enter a new year with the vision to give every student on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.

A highlight of the week for me was World Missions Night. George Verwer, the founding director of OM, came to speak and we prayed for the nations and many stepped up to respond to God’s call to take his word to all corners of the world. God was really challenging me that night to not be fazed but to pray BIG prayers and I had the priviledge of joining in prayer with many girls for extremely exciting things that God was putting on their hearts.

It was so exciting to see such a diverse group of people together getting equipped and ready to follow our missional God on to university campuses all over the UK. Please pray for them as they reach out to the tens of thousands of students starting university this month.

I’ve returned with soo many new books, lots of notes, a lot of new great friends and most importantly my eyes and heart refocussed…

And so the year commences!