Two final-year students were walking past Swansea CU’s first evening event of their events week, Explore, when a CU member invited them in just as it was about to start. They had just visited another society’s event to try to make friends and find community but were disheartened by the welcome wasn’t what they had hoped for.
Instead, they walked into an event titled, ‘Is it possible to know God?’ which sounded like an interesting topic to them – so they opted to come in and give it a chance. Initially, they were blown away by the welcome they received from the Christian Union and thought the talk/discussion was particularly thought-provoking. I spoke to one of the guys who said he hadn’t thought too much about faith before but realised after the talk he ought to think about these claims Jesus makes.
Both students came back to other events in the week, interested in the questions being posed and touched by the friendship and community they had been so quickly welcomed into. I sat with one of the boys at the Friday event where he asked about my story and his many burning questions about faith. We had a thorough conversation about why I have a certain hope for the future – the talk that evening was, ‘How to live without fearing death’ – and why Jesus is worth living for and what that looks like. I could see he was stunned by some of the things I shared with him from my own faith journey.
As he listened and what I was saying began to sink in, he said, ‘If this is real then there are some big consequences to what I make of it’. He told me he needed to go away to think about what he had heard and figure out if Jesus really is who he says he is – because the evidence he was presented with was quite compelling, much to his surprise.
‘If this is real then there are some big consequences to what I make of it’
Since events week, both students have continued coming to follow-up events and one CU member and I have become friends with both these guys and now hang out beyond CU events. It’s wonderful to be able to spend time with these guys simply doing life with them, genuinely getting to know them and helping them navigate their real questions about faith.
This helpfully puts into perspective Paul's words when he writes to the Thessalonian church in chapter two, ‘…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.’ I know Paul longs to be with the Church he had established in Thessalonica when writing this; I would love this to be my longing for these students one day, that one day we will mirror the words of Paul in saying that these people became so dear to us in our sharing of the gospel and sharing of our lives.
I’m excited to see how the Lord continues to work in these students’ hearts, as well as how I and others can come alongside them in friendship and their journey of discovering who Jesus is.
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