Freshers Week!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:9-10

It’s Freshers Week at university. This means huge numbers of people to serve!

I’ve got STYC duties all week – this involves helping people to move in, bringing people to events and just generally loving them. Move-in day was yesterday, which was a lot of hard work. It was very rewarding, though. There were quite a few things that surprised me. Firstly, just how many people had a top-floor room. Secondly, the number of people who brought vans or multiple cars. (OK, it was only a few of them…) Thirdly, people’s general reluctance to accept help. I thought people would jump at the chance to get help moving in. But people were quite wary and didn’t want to overload us – despite that being our job.

There were other things that really encouraged me. With some of the people who arrived later, we would help them unload their cars onto the porters’ trolleys, and take the trolley to their front door, fully prepared to unload the trolley and take all the contents to the top floor ourselves. Until we opened the door and all their housemates came and helped out as well.

Freshers Week also gives the CU in general, and individuals as well, a massive opportunity to spread God’s love. It will be great to welcome new people into CU, and having such an opportunity to invite so many people to events is amazing. It will be a lot of work, but it will be so worth it.

Blessings and Wifi

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Our house is currently without internet. It means that if we want to go online, we have to go onto campus and use the wifi there. Often I can’t be bothered to go onto campus just for an hour or so of internet.

Our internet will be activated at the beginning of October, which seems so long away.

Wifi is such a good gift. And something that, quite scarily, I use far more of than I think.

“We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.”

That is scarily true at the moment.

I must keep remembering everything that God has blessed me with. Everything from a wonderful Church both at home and at uni, a wonderful house, great friendships, to the little things like regular cups of tea.

Going onto campus isn’t too bad, in the grand scheme of things. But I’m looking forward to internet at home 🙂

Forum 2016: Wrapping up an amazing week

Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”” – 1 Samuel 14:6

Long post alert! It’s been a long week and I’ve learned a lot, which I’ll try to sum up here. I’ll be leaving out a lot of detail, mostly on the grounds that it would take over a week to accurately describe 5 days…

Not having been to anything like this before, I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived in Shropshire on Monday. All I really knew was that there would be a lot of CU leaders there, and I’d be camping with the rest of my CU.

I’ll try to sum up my Forum experience quite briefly, although there are no promises.

1. Sleep, glorious sleep…

I’d forgotten just how uncomfortable sleeping on a roll mat is. Which combined with long days and late nights means I slept all of Saturday morning.

2. If you can’t sleep, look at the stars…

Living in cities and towns is great. But light pollution is a thing. Quinta, being mostly in the middle of nowhere, had very little light pollution. And so, on the beautiful clear nights we were fortunate enough to get, there were so many stars in the sky. Staying up late and watching the sky was such a treat, a reminder of how awesome God’s creation is.

3. It doesn’t matter how you pray, just do it…

Everyone participated in a track about mission and an aspect of our faith. I went to one on prayer. The first two sessions were about why we pray and who we pray to; this felt mostly like revision, although they were very encouraging. The best one, though, was undoubtedly the final one (about how and what we pray). With what we’d covered in the first two sessions, it was good to know that we have the Spirit interceding for us, so that it doesn’t matter how we pray, as long as we do it. And it made me start thinking about how to encourage others to pray, using various creative means.

4. It’s easier to talk to people than you think…

Being an introvert, camping alongside over 1,000 other people was a little intimidating. But you’d always be able to strike up a friendly conversation with a complete stranger. Mostly consisting of: Name, University, Course, CU role, and occasionally, favourite type of hat. Each of us in our region got a randomly selected other person to bless at some point during the week as well, and I ended up having a really good conversation with my person.

5. Loud music = no voice…

The band at times of worship was very loud. I could barely hear myself sing, and the lines were often pretty high. And I didn’t know most of them. But it was good to try another form of worship to the more traditional things I’m used to. And when we did a piece a cappella, the sound of over 1,000 voices singing in unison was one of the most powerful things I experienced that week.

6. It’s a small world…

I met a few people at Forum who I knew from my home church. Whilst it didn’t surprise me to find them there, I didn’t imagine I’d actually meet people I knew outside of my university.

7. Perhaps the Lord…

If there’s one phrase that will stick with me for a long time after Forum, it will be this. The Lord can do great things. We pray to a Lord who can do great things. Obviously there will always be challenges. But perhaps the Lord can do great things on campus in the coming year.

Forum anecdotes may or may not follow…

 

Hymns: The Day Thou Gavest

It’s been a very long and hectic few days. I’ve packed and unpacked and packed again, and now I’m in Shropshire at Forum, having moved into my house for the next year two days ago. Being back at my uni church was really good, and seeing how much God has blessed my friends there over the holidays has been really encouraging.

Another thing that’s encouraged me recently is this hymn. The day thou gavest is often used in the evening or in remembrance. But I also find it pretty encouraging during the day.

It reminds us that everything is God’s gift to us. But that’s not all. It speaks of constant praise to God, both our own, and of brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Knowing that there are so many people across the world living and breathing God’s love all the time is just so encouraging and inspiring.