Relay Blog: January 2018
‘He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.’
After a busy first term and a Christmas full of family, food and frenzy, the UCCF New Year Training Conference for Staff and Relay Workers seemed like another thing on the agenda. But the beauty of gathering with God’s people, and the refreshment of my soul that came through a week focusing on God and his word, was something that I much needed!
Throughout my first term of Relay work, these conferences and regional training days have become precious in recalling again the significance of the Lord as our good Shepherd, one who refreshes my soul. The importance of coming to him amidst the busyness and remembering who sustains and protects me.
The New Years training conference offered an opportunity for the whole of the UCCF team to gather together before the start of the university term. We met all together for several larger meetings – mostly hearing talks on 1 Corinthians from Hugh Palmer – and the Relay Workers also spent time in practical ‘personal evangelism’ seminars. The timetable helpfully included ‘breathing’ time to spend with the other Relay Workers and rest of the UCCF team!
One thing that particularly struck me at the New Year Training Conference was Hugh Palmer’s talk on 1 Corinthians 9, explaining the verses ‘I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.’ I was struck by the importance of identifying with those around me, serving others, engaging with how people think so as to win people over to Christ. In our Relay seminars we also explored personal evangelism. The importance of living amongst people. Serving and showing an interest in others, and having a desire to love and engage with what makes them who they are. The conference talks challenged me to think afresh about how I engaged with those who did not know Christ. This term has certainly ended with a renewed prayer that university students would return to the fold of the Lord our Shepherd. There was a great joy at this conference in gathering together to celebrate the work of the Christian Unions across the country, reflect, and plan how God could use us throughout the next term to further his mission within universities.
After the New Year conference I really loved having a week set aside to do further biblical studies and prepare for the term ahead. As I headed back to Nottingham I was thrown again into the usual rhythm of Relay life – meeting with various people, planning the CUs' events weeks ahead and engaging in the new term of biblical studies.
Our Midlands team day, which landed in my first official week back, was probably one of my highlights of the month. We spent the whole day looking at the Psalms understanding their praise, thanksgiving, but also their lament. I was struck by the incredible boldness that we share with the psalmists, to be able to come before God and cry to Him. I particularly loved the opportunity we had to pray through the Psalms during this day; boldly coming before Him as our Father, praising Him for his endless provisions over the last term, and calling for many more to dwell in the house of the Lord.
I think last term ended with great encouragement, but also real tiredness. This January month, therefore, has given me an opportunity to return again to my Shepherd’s arms, wonder anew at his many blessings, and be refreshed for the term ahead.
Martha Leyshon-Jones is a Relay Worker with Nottingham and Nottingham Trent Universities.
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