Sunday, 11 May 2008

Fresher Refresher

I had a great day in Guildford yesterday with CUs and UCCF from the South East. We were thinking about preparing for next term and planning for the year ahead. It was great to meet some of the students and other cool people I'll be working with next year. I went to a seminar by my friends Michael Ots about Freshers' week, which got me really excited. Freshers' week is such a brilliant opportunity to meet students and give them an opportunity to hear the gospel explained. And (I realised during the seminar), I can speak from personal experience - I became a Christian at the end of Freshers' week at the University of Bristol. And as Michael suggested lots of good things to do during freshers' week, I realised that the CU in Bristol did quite a few of them, and they were really important in me coming to faith.

I arrived at Bristol having been to a church when I was younger (my Grandma saw to that), and basically thinking I was a Christian, but I fully intended that it wouldn't make much difference at Uni. When I finally arrived, I found the whole experience pretty overwhelming. As I started meeting loads of people, a few of them stood out - the Christians who were living in Halls. They seemed interested in talking to me, not so they could categorise me, but because they wanted to get to know me. So when they invited me to things I said yes.

There were three really significant events that week. First was just a social meeting we had in Halls, where I started to meet Christians, and I started to see the differences between them and other people I'd met and, more importantly, between them and me. Their faith affected them in a way I hadn't really seen before - it made a difference to their lives.

Then I went to BBQ organised by the CU, opposite the Union. While I was sitting on the grass with my (free) burger, a guy came over to me and asked me to answer a questionnaire. I agreed, and the first question was, "do you believe you're going to heaven when you die?" I said, "I hope so." He said that if I was a Christian I should know I'd be going to heaven. To be honest, I was pretty angry, but what he said nagged me.

Then on the Friday night, I went to the first CU meeting of term. I remember it being huge, I remember the enthusiasm I saw (which freaked me out a little bit if I'm still being honest), and I remember some scary older students coming to talk to me, which was a bit of a shock. And I remember that the gospel, the awesome news about Jesus, was explained.

The questionnaire made me realise I wasn't a Christian. The other stuff made me realise that being a Christian is a lot more than I thought it was, and that I wanted to be one. So, on Saturday night I prayed, "OK, God. I realise I'm not a Christian, but I want to be one."

So now I'm massively excited that I'm going to be helping CUs, 7 years later, to do the same thing for the next lot of Freshers! The key thing I'll be telling them is: PREACH THE GOSPEL IN FRESHER'S WEEK!!! Or else.


étrangère said...

:) Encouraging stuff - thanks for blogging it.

Samuel said...

I am glad that you are excited my friend. We are excited about having you with us in freshers week and beyond.

I believe i will be meeting you tomo. So until then.

Sam (RUCU btw)

Andy said...

wot an excellent post! Thanks for it - reminded me of many of the reasons for the vital nature of student work. praying for you as you prep for (re)joining UCCF work and rejoicing in it.