Training in the new year: food for thought
In January, this years’ cohort of Relay Workers kicked off the new year with a training conference; a chance to be refreshed by the gospel and trained for mission. Here, Relay Worker Ranulph Steiger shares a few key points he’s taken away to ponder.
The food was pretty amazing – and so was the rest of the conference! Over five days, we listened to 15 talks (from ‘grace in life’ to ‘employment’), caught up with mates, enjoyed a 1920’s murder mystery meal, and spent time reflecting. It was invaluable to pause and think about how God has been changing me, His character, the term past and the one to come.
As well as all of this, each Relay Worker was given the chance to deliver a short talk from a passage in the book of Joel.
‘“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.’
The central part of the passage I spoke from (above) afforded me a deeper feeling and understanding of how desperate sin is, and how wonderful God is in contrast! As a result of turning away from God, Joel’s hearers had just been brought to their knees by a devastating locust plague and were anticipating another. But despite behaving like God’s enemies, He not only asked them to return to Him but to “Rend your heart”. He wanted their love and affection – not their cold religion. I found new meaning in remembering that God welcomes me to return to Him with my heart and doesn’t need me for my acts of self-righteousness.
Of the 15 talks, one on the topic of ‘walking with people through suffering’ stood out. Personally, I have people close to me suffering and it seems very common too – in life we, and those around us, suffer. Seeing this is never easy and the speaker brought the subject home by sharing of her own experiences. A question she asked was, ‘How can I use my own suffering to demonstrate God’s compassion and comfort to others?’. A good place to start when friends are hurting.
There was so much fun to be had at the conference and by this point on the programme everyone was familiar and comfortable with each other. Banter was shared. As I mentioned earlier, we had a 1920’s murder mystery to end the conference – you can be the judge of the costumes! It’s been wonderful getting to know friends more deeply.
Overall, I’m looking forward to the next term. I’ve enjoyed being refreshed from the book of Joel, and the opportunities to think about how God is growing me in Relay and rearranging my priorities. I am excited for the mission weeks ahead.
This month's Relay blog comes from Ranulph Steiger, a Relay Worker with the Christian Unions in London (University of the Arts London, Ravensbourne, Central school of Speech and Drama, Royal College of Art). Read more blogs from Relay Workers here.
If you're a final year student, why not apply for Relay?
Relay is a unique opportunity to work on the front line of student mission with Christian Unions while being invested in by UCCF Staff Workers. You'll receive fantastic training and see how the grace of the gospel impacts all areas of life - you’ll also have a chance to attend conferences just like this one.
Round 2 applications close 16 February 2020.