Word Alive!

The new term started with stewarding at Word Alive. This is such a great opportunity to serve and I was really looking forward to it! Over 3000 people came together each of the 2 weeks, from all ages, to spend time together learning more about the almighty God that loves us and wants to know us. With Don Carson teaching from Jeremiah in the mornings to Luke being taught from a mixture of great teachers in the evenings and through all the children’s sessions, it was bound to be a good week.

I was based on the 0-5’s work, mainly letting the children and parents in and out, making sure no one escaped and no one came in that wasn’t meant to be there! I guess a bit of a bouncer on a soft play area really…

Although hanging around doing not much is definitely challenging at times, it was an absolute privilege to be a part of making this week work. It was great to see parents be able to leave their children in a safe environment then they could go off to the talks themselves. The amount of relieved faces you saw when they left the door was incredible and the conversations we had with a lot of the parents was really encouraging. You could see they were really enjoying the week and also happy that their children were realy enjoying it too. This was evident when the children ran out with the things they had made that day. One day they had made megaphones and each child ran out the room yelling ‘good news!’ down them, another day a mum was telling me how her little boy had come out the day before telling her all about ‘the story where Jesus healed a man’s leg and his heart’ and the last day they all came out wearing crowns saying ‘living for the King’. It was awesome to see 3-5 year olds really learning about Jesus and seeing how he can speak to the little ones just as much as anyone else.

I love working in teams, but it does show you a lot of your downfalls, especially when you’re tired and for me impatient and unloving at times. But it’s in these times that God teaches you even more about yourself, but also how much he loves you in all your flaws and how his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It was a great week. I loved the team banter, being able to catch up with people and making new friends. I would definitely recommend stewarding at conference if you can. Often a free week, with food, accommodation and you even get to go to some talks! But most importantly it’s a week of serving and making a event possible for thousands of other people to come to worship and be equipped and encouraged in their own lives and to go out and make a difference where they are.

The Privilege of Relay

I was at my church growth group last night and the students were sharing about the leaders training weekend they’d just had. One of them shared about how him and the other CU presidents in the SW had done a bible study together in the morning. And this is all before an 8:30 breakfast! (Who says students sleep all day??) I couldn’t contain the big grin that came over my face. My heart literally does warm and jump at the love of Jesus that the students have that I get to work with.

Another point at the weekend was seeing members of the CU praying together after a session on serving as leaders. They all joined hands where they sat and prayed about how to lead as Jesus taught. This was yet another point of that immense proudness and just amazement of what I get to be part of.

CU’s are fully student led and I get to support them and help them on their mission in their own lives and on campus. Encouraging and getting alongside them as they share Jesus with their friends. I love opening up the bible with them, praying with them, seeing them grow, seeing them get to know Jesus more and hearing the stories of the opportunities they’ve had to share the hope that we have in Jesus with their friends.

I remember before I did relay someone said to me that it’s a big thing and a great thing to sacrifice a year. Yet I remember saying that day, I don’t see it as a sacrifice, I see it as a privilege.

And I stick by that.

Yes it’s not always easy, but I get to walk alongside these students, spending time learning more about God and coming closer to him whilst teaching them and encouraging them and bring involved in everything they’re involved in. It really is amazing. And it really is a privilege.

A new year. A new term.

A new year. A new term.

After a pretty lazy but nice Christmas, I hit the new year with a study week followed by our second Relay conference. I have to admit, going back was hard and as us relays in the south west sat around the table on our first day of a study week we realised how much we all needed new energy and motivation for what was ahead. Yet a week together, writing talks in Malachi, studying about the cross and preparing a fun relay workout for Relay’s got talent was a great way to begin.

And this was followed by our Relay 2 conference. Not being a fan of repeated small talk I was a little apprehensive, I was looking forward to the talks and seminars but the breaks in between not so much! However, after a day I soon settled into wanting to talk to people and just felt as though I was in a real family. There are over 70 of us Relay workers in the UK and it was great to be with people who know what day to day relay life is and feel connected with and supported by people all over the country (plus Scotland, Ireland and Wales!)

Relay 2 was the most incredible week. I loved it way more than I expected to and didn’t want to leave at the end, although I knew the teaching we had received was such long term stuff that would help me in not just the term ahead but all through life. I absolutely loved looking at Malachi throughout the week, seeing the actions of God’s people at that time and seeing how much of God’s character we are exposed to in looking into his response and how his plan for the world is still going to continue. Also, looking into what mission is and why do we do it, and by actually glorifying God today we are coming into a greater reality of who we are, as that is the direction of all creation. It was a week full of highlights and I feel a great encouragement to us all!

I returned to Falmouth on Monday and being back with Falmouth CU and Jo (my supervisor) is so great. I feel I understand more how much of a great opportunity this year is, not just to have an impact in the lives of people around me, but having the time to study God’s word and come into a fuller understanding of who he is. This is an opportunity that not many people get and I want to really grab it this term. After realising how much I have learnt last term, I’m excited for what else I’ll be learning next and for seeing what these next few weeks hold.

Watch this space!

Don’t you just love Christmas!!

It’s definitely nearly Christmas!! Although I’ve only seen frost twice yet… that’s the tropics of Falmouth!

I’m sat with fairy lights and candles making the most of the wintery feeling, all I need right now is a Starbucks gingerbread latte…

I have to say Christmas is just ever so exciting with students… maybe it’s because they finish on the 6th December, so Christmas indeed starts at the beginning of November! You definitely get double the Christmas! I may have already had 4 Christmas dinners…

It also involves lots of Christmas events with the CU! We had a Christmas meal with around 100 students, where many heard about the hope God gives, and we have some students who want to meet up and chat more about this and look into the bible with someone next term! The room was decked with candles, confetti, crackers, snowflakes and all things Christmassy! With us having a free meal every term then they are always well attended and many always come to a fabulous full Christmas dinner to finish the year.

We also had a carol service where we had many talented CU members in a band and had the fabulous Viva Voce choir from the university perform too. We invited them last year to come along and then they contacted us to ask if they could do the same this year! We also had a great talk on the historical, beautiful, indispensable Christmas. We had about 80 people there and everyone received a Luke’s gospel to take away with them. They’re part of the Uncover project check it out here… http://uncover.org.uk/

Christmas teams days were a joy too! It’s always great to meet with the rest of the team in the south west, have some teaching, eat together and catch up on the past month. On the train on the way home I also had a lengthy conversation with a guy about what the CU is and does, what it means to have a relationship with God and to experience his presence and I gave him a Luke’s gospel too. I’d put one in my bag just incase I ended up talking to someone on the train and there the opportunity came!

And our last Christmas themed prayer breakfast was so well attended and great fun! Check out this photo… it breaks all stereotypes of students sleeping all morning!

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Christmas Prayer breakfast! (7:30-9am)

I’ll be back home in a week and I’m looking forward to catching up with people and having my first Christmas where it’s actually a holiday and I don’t have course work to do!

Christmas is such a great time to share about what it means for God to come down and be with us. So take this opportunity! And enjoy all the Christmas festivities!!

And on a slightly different Christmas note, if you want to check out a great 3 minute Christmas video on Christmas in dark places, then definitely give this a watch…

Jesus Loves the F Word

This week we had a mini events week. Kind of a mini version of a full events week that every CU has every year! So basically, a week with many events… take a look…

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Credit: Paul Worthy

And as you can see it was entitled ‘Jesus Loves the F-Word’ …

Food… Forgiveness… Freedom… French Film… (Falmouth… ‘Flipping’ Pancakes… Insert other F-Word here…)

And it was a pretty good week!

We had a guy called Glen Scrivener down to speak who is just awesome, we love having him with us in Falmouth. He’s always teaches us A LOT! I would really recomment checking out his blog here… http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/

And if you don’t read blogs, or even if you do, DEFINITELY take 5 minutes to check out his 321 gospel video.

http://three-two-one.org/

Our free meals are always well attended and this time I sat with 3 people that had never come to a CU event before, but had seen a flyer for the event so came along! (This is majorly enouraging to us as not many people like flyering so to see the effects of it pushes us on and through.) One of them was a Jew and the other two didn’t believe anything, it was pretty interesting to chat with them and we had a good laugh about a lot of things. I’ve definitely got better at asking questions and provoking conversation and generally talking with people! It was great to see new faces that have no friends in the CU being reached by flyers and to see many friends of CU members coming along too.

At the tea and toast event after the halloween party I bumped into a guy who came to one of the events in our main events week last year. It was great to see him again and touch base and he started quite an indepth conversation with me. He calls himself a pagan and seems pretty set in his beliefs and he certainly thinks deeply and philosophically about a lot of things! He was pretty drunk but he said to me he’d love to have a chat with me when he’s sober! I’ve got in touch with him since and he’s up for meeting up at some point and chatting more so I will see when that can happen!

Oh and take a look at some of our amazing publicity for the week!

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Credit: Sarah Weigold

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Credit: Chloe Plumridge

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Credit: Rachael Saunders

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Credit: Clair Rossiter

Now who wouldn’t want to come along to an event with a flyer like one of those?? We are so blessed with super talented people that want to use their amazing skills! If you’re procrastinating/really inspired and want to take a look at our past publicity that is all equally amazing then jump to our website poster archive here… http://cargocollective.com/FCUevents/Poster-Archive

We’re also super blessed to have the great relationships with the university and the students union too. The students union now even pay for eveything we need for our tea and toast events! It’s those relationships that make it so easy and possible to do all the events that we want on campus. The students union office even said to me that they could employ a person full time to do all the admin that needs doing for the CU we’re that active! What a great thing for someone to say!

I was also really encouraged and excited this morning when I talked to two students at church who had come along for the first time. One had been out of church since she was 15 and the other had never stepped foot in a church. But this morning they thought why not go along so they did! Just like the guys coming to a free meal off a flyer. It just reminded me that God is working in so many people that we’re not aware of and how great is it when he brings them to us and let’s us join in with all that he is doing??

And the girls really enjoyed church and want to come back!

Lots to pray for!

What happened at Freshers?

Freshers.

New faces. Lost faces. Confused faces. Bold faces.

Introductions – to people, places, courses, more people, more places, more modules, more tutors, more, more… more.

Meeting those people you know are gonna be your friends. Meeting those you know, probably, won’t be…

Partying. Hiding. Discovering. Sleeping.

Awkward conversation. Great conversation. The same conversation. Over and over and OVER again.

Just a few recollections of freshers for me. And some of them were definitely still familiar this year! What is about freshers that makes some want to chat to everyone? And makes some just want to curl up in a ball?

Luckily this year I was quite happy to chat to everyone. (Well, most people!) And I thoroughly enjoyed talking with a big mix of people that I probably wouldn’t normally talk to. Being a part of all the CU freshers events made this inevitable and the conversations I had were all pretty exciting.

Take one…

Myself and one of the co-pres’ were delivering toasties to flats at our txt a toastie event one evening (where people txt a question about God/Christianity and we deliver a toastie with an [attempted] answer!). We had 4 events like this, even one with pancakes! And we would deliver A LOT of food, which obviously then results in A LOT of conversation. One flat was a most prominent highlight in my mind, we were invited in for a cup of tea and all 7 of them living there were sat around the table, all with their own questions! Can science and faith work together? What is the trinity about? Can you believe in God but not in the bible? What is a Christian’s view on contraception? Why do we have natural disasters? These were just a few of the questions, and how good it was to have people genuinelty interested and listening and talking about it as a flat! And being able to sit down to talk to them! We may not have answered every question but when we left they felt like some of their views had been challenged and they needed to re think.

Take two…

I talked to many at our question for a cookie events. We were using Solarium cards (check them out here if you’re not sure what they are http://mysoularium.com/ ) and asking people 3 questions.

1 Which photos best represented their life right now?
2 Which photos best represented how they would like their life to be?
3 Which photos best represented their view/perception of God?

Question for a Cookie

You can imagine that arty students are pretty drawn to a table of photos and cookies so we had many stop by. There was one guy I was able to talk to for about half an hour. It was pretty awesome when his questions that he first asked me were directly related to the study I had been doing just that week and even that day! He was currently reading the quran and was clearly searching and since he has just studied philosophy and ethics, he was a pretty deep thinker! Normally I would feel a bit out of my depth, as I’m certainly not a massive deep thinker, but we had a good two way conversation where I could ask him what he meant by certain things and not feel stupid in doing this! And we in turn chatted about pre destination, free will, the trinity, homosexuality, women in the bible… the lot really. And he downloaded the bible on his phone there and then!

Take three…

Tea and Toast. My favourite event! Crazy conversations happen at the best times i.e between 11 and 2 on a student union event night! One night I even went just went to watch a film with a group of international students who had come to us for film snacks! We even stood holding hands in a circle praying together while waiting for toast to be ready… as they said to me ‘we’re just praying to Jesus, do you want to come and join?’ They thought this would get them toast and hot drinks since they weren’t drunk!

Take four…

The freshers fayre. This is a time where the uni turns into a bit of what I would imagine a market place looked like in the bible. So much free stuff for students to get there hands on and where sports clubs and societies try to get people to sign up! We gave out 500 tins of beans with the details of the CU meetings and free meals on and how to get in contact. We also had 68 people sign up, which was certainly a good number! Great conversations also happened and we had one guy come up to us and say

I don’t want beans and I’m not a Christian, but I just want to say you guys are my favourite guys on campus, I love what you’re doing.

And this was after only a week of freshers events. So we must be having a positive impact!

Freshers Fayre Beans

So in the midst of cream teas, free meals, toasties, pancakes, cookies, bbqs, quizzes, films soo many people must have asked questions, been asked questions, been challenged, encouraged, unsure, hopeful, excited and most of all heard about the character of the amazing God that I know and that loves us.

I wonder what the rest of the year holds?

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.