Sharing Life at Uni

We were singing this song at church the other morning and it immediately reminded me of this video – a video that stirs my heart and bring tears to my eyes every time I watch it. And whilst singing I looked around and saw students getting alongside each other and praying together.

This was just one reminder of how much I love working with students.

University is front line stuff. You’re thrown into an environment where everyone is away from home; many for the first time. And you’re living, working, eating, drinking, socialising together. You can’t escape each other’s lives and the influence that those lives might have on you.

Maybe this is why Christian students are so quick to get alongside each other. To support each other, encourage each other and build each other up. To have those crazy nights indoors or even out under the stars when others are out drinking, to have those people to share those really quiet campus moments with on a Sunday morning on the way to church and to be with when you just feel like a complete failure and need the reminder of the hope and grace in Jesus.

There’s no other time in life when you’re living like this, so close to many different people.

I know coming to uni, meeting so many new people and in that becoming good friends with a lot of Christians my age that were really serious about their faith was a brand new experience and I think a pretty unique one in life too.

It was amazing to have other people around to build me up and point me to Jesus. I loved the prayer and worship times we had together and the endless deep conversations of many questions late into the night. And you can probably guess who was asking all the questions! It was great to truly do life with these people, through the so many ups and downs that uni throws at you.

I’m also really grateful for the closeness I felt we had as a year on my degree. Day after day, class after class, needing the support from each other through the emotional, physical and mental drain that you feel in a dance degree.

University is never boring. I had friends I could go to whenever, so many houses I could just walk into. I was never stuck for something or someone to call on.

Everyone helped me in some way and I just want to emphasise the influence and impact that an environment as special as this, with people living so close and truly sharing lives together can have.

I want to encourage the Christian students I know (and those I don’t) to see this uni experience as such an exciting opportunity! To share your lives with those friends that know Jesus, but also to share them just as much with those that don’t. There’s something special about seeing the full life of someone, what they love, what they struggle with, what makes them tick, what keeps them going. Why do they live the way that they do?

Don’t underestimate the effect you can have on others around by living differently and inviting people into that. Support each other as followers of Jesus, but don’t retreat into a ‘Christian bubble’, fully share your lives with many others around. You’ll be surprised of the impact you can have and actually how open people are when you’re so open with them!

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My Relay Year

For my last relay conference we had to do a 3 minute presentation on our year, I decided to write a poem, so here it is…

RELAY
What can I say?
A full 10 months condensed into 3 minutes of a day
The highlights
The lowlights
The bits in between
A bit of an up and down year it would seem.

But here I am looking back at it all
Knowing that it was God’s call
I’ve studied pretty hard
Learning so much doctrine
Thinking how great is grace and how deep is sin

I’ve met up with students
Ones that are all pretty keen
Building them up and together as a team
We point each other to Jesus
Looking into his word
From Genesis to John and the Holy Spirit as a bird

Falmouth events are always quite fun
Especially out on the beach sat in the sun
With endless free meals
Open mics and lunch bars
I feel equipped to make small talk with even people from Mars

The constant question of “Why does God kill?”
Through ‘text a’ events
With people looking at issues through a search on Google
That verse in 1 Samuel, Exodus, Joshua even
I can recite in my sleep a reason for wiping out a nation

I think one of the things I’m going to most miss
Is weekly supervision
Despite it’s challenges
That person that can see right to your core
Pushing things further when you don’t think there’s more
I’m incredibly grateful for those challenging times
Shaping you and moulding you, and something else that rhymes
I loved many hours spent in cafes
Chatting and studying and drinking lattes
I’ll miss my staff worker and how much she was there
Through questions and excitement and times I couldn’t bare.

Falmouth CU are such a great bunch
Some look up to me, some after me, some even cook me lunch
They want to share Jesus
And put on events
Making my life easier with no bribery attempts

I love deep conversations and questions and thoughts
And thinking through what Jesus says about arts and sports

I think that’s actually a big thing that I will take away
That there’s no subject where Jesus has nothing to say
He has dominion over the earth and the sky
Caring about everything from the lowest to the high
He came down into our filth
Bringing us hope and new life
He sets us free from our sins and trouble and strife

I’ve learnt a lot about God’s divinity
And obviously can go in depth on the doctrine of the trinity
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one
These amazing truths we’ve got to think on
We’re invited into the perfect family
Of overflowing love and life and full security
We’re covered by grace
By the blood of the lamb
And this I will take away when Relay is gone

These everlasting truths
I pray won’t leave my heart
That they’ll lift me and assure me on each day I start

And when I begin to think it’s something I’ve done
I’ll come back to the cross
And look at the Son.

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.

Feedback

Falmouth Christian Union have their events week coming up next week and I’m excited! It’s called Feedback as it has been created from questions and feedback we have received from students we have talked to here on campus.

I just wanted to share with you the video and plan of the week. Please be praying for Owen and Lois as they come to speak, for courage for students to invite their friends, for opportunities for great conversations and for people’s hearts to be open to hear and respond to Jesus.

Check out the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF4YhkYduhs&feature=youtu.be

And the week plan…

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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!