Relay Blog: November 2017
We came as a group of Christian friends; we left as a mission team, excited to share Jesus on campus.
Lancaster CU weekend away was definitely one highlight of my month with the four CUs I work with in the region. Weekends away are a great opportunity to get to know one another and make friends but for the first time, this weekend went far beyond that. Mission excitement was the name of the game here. With the ever-inspiring Michael Green and Bruce Gillingham (our mission week speakers) speaking, the whole atmosphere changed. This year, Lancaster CU are using the theme STORY to shape their mission all building up to a climax week of intense mission in March, which they launched at the weekend away. It was so encouraging to see people grasping the vision, scale and joy of our mission. We came as a group of Christian friends; we left as a mission team, excited to share Jesus with our friends.
This was evident in our first day of STORY events just over a week later. To kick off, we had two lunchbars on the topic of forgiveness looking at the question; Can God forgive terrorists? This all built up to an interview in the evening with ex-loyalist terrorist, Billie McCurrie.
But while mission excitement was high, so was opposition. Complications with both food and venue had meant things were confirmed just hours before the events while during the second lunchbar in the afternoon, the SU came saying they are likely to have to pull the plug on the evening event due to the controversial nature of the speaker.
But God was faithful and after constant prayer throughout the day, the gospel was faithfully proclaimed three times that day. Billie’s testimony to God’s grace in the face of hatred, murder and revenge was incredibly moving and powerful. The place was packed with many gospel conversations and questions taking place long afterwards.
It certainly has been busy here in Lancaster with CU leadership training, Weekends Away, Text for a Toastie, Mission planning, World Mission evening, Carol Service planning, Mission events, Evangelism Training conference and while all the time still having the joy of getting stuck into God’s Word in so many new and exciting ways. November is often referred to in the Relay world as ‘Nasty November’ just because of the sheer busyness of it all but if there is one thing I’ve learnt, it’s God’s faithfulness in the face of opposition.
If there is one time I’ve been plunged into depths of God’s grace, it has been in reading the Bible with one student in particular. In amongst pressures of academic life, society commitments, illness, anxiety and fear, we have been unearthing the treasures of Colossians – and what a joy it has been! Nearly every week I am brought to tears, not because of the struggles and difficulties of life, but just because of the beauty of Jesus Christ. Among busyness and big events, one of my highlights has got to be hearing a student, struggling with pressures from herself and those around her, saying in the midst of it all: ‘If I get nothing else out of uni but I learn to love God more, I will be so happy.’
This is why I’m a Relay Worker, to experience the absolute joy of knowing Christ and seeing others do the same.
I’ve had some really incredible opportunities this month, including leading CU training, leading a seminar on engaging with culture and even helping to give a lecture at Capernwray Bible school – but only because when I am weak God is strong.
As much as this month has been one of events and busyness, it has also been a month of prayer, prayer that we have seen so powerfully answered from beginning to end. I love meeting up with other members of the team, students from other universities and other Relay workers to see this is true not just across Lancaster but across CUs all over the country. To quote one of my favourite writers: ‘Jesus did many other things as well, if every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.’
Praise God for what He is doing in CUs across the country. Pray that Relay Workers like Abi will be experiencing the absolute joy of knowing Christ, and seeing others do the same.
Abi Andrews is a Relay Worker in Lancaster, where she was involved in the Christian Union in a student and is excited to see God’s Kingdom continue to grow.
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