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students Catherine and Tom

Tea, theatre and trusting God: Catherine's story

‘Tom was one of my first friends at uni. We bumped into each other during freshers’ week, but really became friends when he begrudgingly danced with me at a hall’s ceilidh a few days later. After that, our friendship began to grow, mainly thanks to the hot chocolate and tea Tom provided each Friday.

A ‘tea and cake’ Christian

As we got to know each other, it was hard not to bring up Christianity (especially as I would regularly dress up as a giant toastie and point people to the CU’s ‘Toastie Bar’ on a Friday night!). Tom would come to me with questions from his conversations with another Christian friend, and we’d chat. He was a nominal Christian, or a ‘tea and cake Christian’ as he called it, and unsure what it was all really about.

A prayer-answering God

By our second semester, bucket-loads of people were praying for Tom – but I was a chicken through and through. I had been thinking of suggesting he read Uncover Mark with me but didn’t know how to ask! At a ‘text-a-toastie’ event in our hall however, I flippantly remarked that I had a free book if anyone wanted it and Tom skimmed through. I explained what it was and said that it was really meant to be read with someone else. “So, Friday then?” he asked.

Exciting things in Mark’s Gospel

From then on, when we met for our usual ‘hot chocolate Fridays’ we also read a little bit of Mark’s Gospel, sitting on the floor of one of our rooms or, once, almost getting blown away as we sat by the North Sea. We went pretty slowly because of busy schedules, but conversation flowed because we had a solid friendship and there are just so many exciting things in Mark and lots of stories that lead to questions (the fact that Jesus taught with authority because He had written the Scriptures properly blew us away!). I’d never read the Bible one-to-one with anyone before but Uncover was a really useful foundation to start discussions and allowed us to go on our own tangents in a very normal way.

Everything finally fell into place

In April, everything seemed to click. Our CU was performing The Mark Drama on Easter Monday and Tom was invited. It was definitely a God-driven event, timed to perfection.

I ended up going home over Easter and so missed the performance, but while I was there, I received several texts from friends telling me that I had to chat with Tom ASAP when I got back. Someone sent me the review he’d written for the Uni newspaper and I started to get very excited.

Back in St Andrews, we met in a little coffee shop and Tom explained that he’d gone to three church services that weekend, as well as watching The Mark Drama, and had had a breakthrough. Everything had finally fallen into place and made sense; it wasn’t head knowledge, it was in the heart. I personally embarrassed poor Tom, making an exuberant show of my new baby Christian brother and crying joyfully into my tea.

‘God is helping me share my faith’

What this taught me is that God can and will use His people – and we need to expect that. He was relentlessly pursuing Tom and my reluctance and lack of courage couldn’t get in the way. This isn’t a story about a fresher bravely leading a friend to the Lord, but of a great and patient God who answered prayer and used very normal people to show His grace and love.

I’m just so immensely grateful that I was a part of this and even more grateful that I have a new brother. I think there’s something wonderful about knowing that God is there with me, helping me when I share my faith and that even my weaknesses don’t hinder the spread of the gospel.'

Find out more about Uncover and how you can invite your friends to explore Jesus.

Catherine is a proud geographer going into her second year at the University of St Andrews. She was raised in a Christian home but took the decision to personally commit her life to the Lord when she was 11. After arriving at university last year, she quickly got stuck into CU life and joined a sub-committee for the CU’s ‘Toastie Bar’ (club outreach) last January.

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