‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ – Acts 4:12.
After over a year of online events, the return to pre-pandemic rhythms of putting marquees up, donning garishly coloured sweatshirts and enthusiastically handing out flyers saw an incredible response across the nation.
The CUs were working against a backdrop of two years of social isolation and pandemic fears that exposed the instability of all that our culture puts its hope in. This, coupled with news from Ukraine highlighting injustice and suffering, is perhaps the reason why mission weeks up and down Great Britain were characterised by remarkable openness to the gospel. We shouldn’t be surprised that hearts turned to Jesus, declaring that He is Lord and Saviour.
Having never seen an in-person mission week before, many CU members had no idea of what to expect and so were astonished to experience God’s faithfulness and friends’ open reception.
As Southampton CU member Lois reflected, ‘I had all my expectations blown away. I really didn’t think people would be up for coming straight off campus and asking so many questions! One girl I met came along having received a flyer and has been to follow-up and church with me. God is showing me this is His work not mine.’ What a privilege for Lois to bump into the Holy Spirit at work softening this students’ heart.
'I had all my expectations blown away'
The CUs engaged with students in creative ways: using question boards, thought-provoking talk titles and outrageous generosity. Stepping out in faith, students boldly asked big questions of their friends.
One student, Mikey (name changed) from Brunel University when asked, ‘Where do you find hope for the future?’ at a coffee stall, responded, ‘I need hope... I’m desperate.’ Similarly, one CU guest supporting Durham CU noted how one student had ‘such a soft heart to God’ in their conversation. Later in the week, he made a commitment to follow Jesus! Such openness and willingness from these students to consider whether Jesus might be worth exploring – or even trusting in – points to the spiritual hunger seen in universities across the country.
These mission weeks also gave CUs the unique opportunity to speak of God’s abundant grace while displaying His love practically. Students often experienced a powerful sense of community from the moment they stepped into events.
This was particularly the case at the Oxford Brookes event, ‘Belong’. One international student had never heard the gospel before and was surprised by God’s grace while also seeing it lived out in the welcome she received from the CU members: ‘I came for the free food and stayed for the company.’ Another who came was invited to a local church’s student night the next week. When his small group invited everyone to pray one-word prayers of thankfulness, he thanked God for ‘belonging’.
‘I came for the free food and stayed for the company'
A guest at Sussex CU’s mission week shared, ‘I thought I wouldn't be welcome being from a Muslim family, but I felt really loved coming to the marquee... I've been searching for God for a long time and I knew straight away it was Christianity when I heard the message at the marquee.’
How amazing that these seeking students were able to experience the welcome of a Father who runs to embrace us, inviting us into a heavenly home and making His home in our hearts right now.
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