Transition: Mission Weeks

PlymCUMission weeks or events week are where the CU puts on a week of events that give everyone on campus the opportunity to hear about Jesus. It is an intense week. You spend most of the year planning for it, making sure you have speakers, venues, themes, talk titles and fliers.

I think I have been involved in about 12 mission weeks since being a student. This includes going as a student, staff worker and going along as a guest to a mission week in another Uni. It is a hard week and you end up really tired but it is totally worth it. Here are some reasons why I love it:

  • Seeing students really step out in faith and invite their friends along to hear about Jesus
  • Hearing great talks from mission speakers
  • Meeting to pray every morning and seeing prayers answered
  • Seeing students accept Jesus for the first time
  • Reaching people who may of never have come across a Christian or CU or church before
  • The energy from the students
  • The way the students work together in unity to achieve a week of events
  • Watching things go wrong but then discover that the Lord has used it for good
  • Fliering in the rain… (ok that isn’t one of my favourites…)

I think University provides a great platform for events week and it has been wonderful to be a part of these weeks. I remember it was during a mission week that I led a student to Christ – it was amazing and such an exciting time. I learnt so much through that.

It is strange to think that I won’t really be a part of that process any more, but it is probably a good thing as I don’t think that kind of pattern of ministry is sustainable for the whole life of the church. The model works well at University where terms are short, it’s a quick fire paced life and people are living in very close quarters.

But church is a much slower pace, inviting people in from all walks of life and backgrounds, different situations and questions. The whole CU model of mission couldn’t be mapped on to church life, some of it would, but not all of it and I am looking forward to a different pace of life, with different people, rhythms and questions.

I have learnt so much through mission weeks and I have seen the goodness of the Lord where he has sustained me and provided when we have been in need. If you ever get a chance to be a guest in one, then do – it will open your eyes to some exciting student mission that the CU’s are doing across the UK and the world!

How to enjoy Relay Homestart

Around this time a few years ago I was getting ready to go on my next adventure by doing Relay Homestart in Peru. I know all the feelings of being excited, nervous, unsure, insecure, scared, happy, sad to leave friends etc… with a million emotions all in one I knew I would be boarding that plane soon with no language skills and no real understanding of what it means to live in a different culture and really no idea of what I was really doing. So as I am guessing that some of you will be feeling these things at some point, I want to write a quick guide on how to enjoy and make the most of Relay Homestart and also short term mission – whether that’s in Europe or China or South America…

  1. Pray and continue praying – this may sound like a given. But we are sinful creatures that like to draw upon Gods help at the start and then when we get use to the culture and the language, suddenly God can be out the picture. Don’t be complacent, continue praying and bring everything to God
  2. Don’t expect it to be like Relay – On Relay you had amazing support every week, you had theology to read, students to meet up with and conferences to build fellowship. But its all different on homestart, don’t expect it to be like Relay at all – you may not get weekly support and it will take you a while before you can speak the language enough to be able to meet up with students one to one. This wont be like fitting on a glove. You are not the star relay worker in your university spouting Grace and Grudem. Your the foreigner that cant speak the language. But there are lots of advantages for it not being like Relay and you will find them out.
  3. Jump into the culture – The Culture your going into is different and can seem scary and you may get culture shock. The only way I dealt with this is by not shutting myself away but being apart of the lives of others in the culture. I was living with a family and so I joined in on everything the family was doing – watching TV with them, going to church events, going shopping with them etc…although I couldn’t speak Spanish, my actions and my time shared with them proved to be shouting louder then words. So join a youth group or prayer group, join in with a family, be with different people and don’t just hang out with English speaking people. Also try and eat everything or at least a bite – it shows your willing to try things.

  4. Don’t live on Facebook – Its very tempting to hide yourself away on facebook everyday. My suggestion is to not touch facebook for the first month – your friends will understand. Its more important that you get to know people where you are living then keep updated on the facebook feed. Your relationships where you are will be better off.

  5. Enjoy the Differences – everything will be different – smells, food, people, clothes… but don’t be cynical – its easy to believe that the English culture is always right, but you will see that its not and there is so much to learn in the differences. At times it will be frustrating, but as much as you can enjoy the differences – don’t complain about them to other people, but let your words be encouraging and pure.

  6. Your Identity is in Jesus – This is a huge lesson I learned. It is very easy to place your worth and Identity in everything but Jesus. You will want to place it in your language skills or how many one to ones you have or what you are doing compared to everyone else. But quickly you will see that when you place your worth in those things you will fall apart because they will not stand up – your language will fail, you will find yourself at times doing nothing or not knowing what to do! But Jesus will always remain and if your identity is in Him you will not fall and he will never fail you. Ever.

  7. Don’t expect to stay in touch with everyone – Some people are good at keeping in touch, some are not. Some will be annoyed that you are not emailing them everyday. The truth is, is that you wont have time to be keeping in touch with everyone and that’s a reality that you will have to not feel guilty about.

  8. Read your bible – Keep yourself in the word even if you don’t have a routine. You will find that church wont be a place where you can get either teaching you understand or teaching that’s going to feed you. But the Word of God will feed you. Keep in his word, enjoy His word, Delight in his Word, Weep over His Word and Rejoice that you have the Word of God in your hands.

  9. Be prepared for crazy emotions – At times you will find yourself so happy your skipping down the road and then the next moment you are crying. You will feel alone and then very loved. This is normal, so don’t worry. But remember your emotions are not reliable – but God is. Your emotions go up and down but God stays the same. God is still God. That is a good truth to hold on to. Don’t be subject to your emotions, but know that God uses you in your weakness and when you are alone, you are actually very close to Jesus.

  10. Love – Love the people, love the fruit lady, love your team mates, love other missionaries, love the crazy drunk man on the street, love the unlovable, love Jesus and do everything in Love. And enjoy every moment.

Highlights from the London Mission

Here are some of my highlights from the London mission:

1. Being in London and enjoying how big things are, how diverse people are and how much culture there is!

2. Working with SOAS students

3. Chatting with loads of international students during the day – we had some really great conversations.

4. Sharing the Gospel with students

5. A girl becoming a Christian at the evening events

6. Meeting a fellow blogger and someone who reads my blog! (It was nice to meet you!)

7. Surprise visit from Sarah

8. Listening to Krish speak about Jesus and films

9. Being with the London Team

10. Hearing the Gospel reading in Spanish.

To London

Next week I am off to London to help with some mission events with London University CU students. I am quite excited and please do pray for the events and that people will encounter Jesus.

Krish Kandia will be speaking in the evening which is exciting as he was the mission speaker when I was at CU at Uni. It will be nice to see him again! Check out the poster for more information:

Unity in the Christian Union

Something greatly unique about Christian Unions is that what makes up the CU are students from all backgrounds/churches and theologies. This can make it quite fun and also quite challenging. In CU this week, we did a bible study on what Unity looks like in CU and why Unity is important.

Firstly we watched the “Together People” video from UCCF.

The biggest question is why is Unity important? This will probably be more of an issue in CU then in church, because generally churches attract like-minded people and theology, where as CU does not. So it is important to clarify why Unity is important..

Lets have a look at:

Psalm 133v1How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity

John 17v20-23For Christians to be one as he and Father are one (he says it three times so we don’t miss it – he wants us to be one!). WHY? because when we are one we show that the Father has sent the son and he loves us. We show more of the love in the trinity and the love the Father has for us by being united…

So as we are united it will attract people to Christ! Imagine the effect of that.

What does unity look like? Well firstly, what are we united around?…It must be Christ, we must be united around Christ. What does it look like when we are united around Christ? Looking at 1Cor12:12-26 and Ephesians 4:1-6…

No division (1Cor12v25), Caring and loving the weak (1Cor12v22-23), suffer together and rejoice together (1Cor12v26),  humble and gentle (Eph 4v2) Bearing with one another (4v2), Make every effort (Eph 4v3), not be led astray by false teaching (Eph 4v14), Speaking truth in love (Eph 4v15) Grow up into him who is the head, Christ (4v16)

It looks amazing! It looks attractive. When Christ and the Gospel is central then we can be united, caring, loving gentle, making every effort to be united and thus the goal will always be to show Christ because he will be pouring out of us as we gather round him and center round him.

  • How does that affect our mission?
  • How will that affect us when we disagree with each other and don’t like the way something is done?

If Christ is the focus. Then the attention is off ourselves, which means we lay aside some of those secondary issues, we lay aside our negative attitudes and we make ever effort to encourage and work in unity towards the same goal – making Christ known on campus. There is a cost in this, it means what you think wont be as important, it means you will have to lay down some of your ideas and not grumble. But if the focus is Christ, then we die to ourself and we don’t crush the weak brother/sister, but we lift them up and encourage them.

Unity can win people to Christ, by showing some of his beauty and splendour in how he loves us and how he wants his name known.

Note – Thank you to Brian for giving me his notes about this…!!

Balm of Grace or Bashing Religion?

I just read on my friends blog this quote which I want to share with you because it just makes you think about how we do things as Christians and why:

“I heard an encouraging sermon at church from a visiting missionary from Pakistan. It occurred to me that people who minister with Muslims have a greater emphasis on grace than people who minister with your average Westerners. People who spend all their days with (apparently) complacent Christians seem to fall into the trap of thinking that it will help to bash them over the head a bit. But people who minister with those who are already being bashed over the head by a false religion seem to understand that grace is the answer.”

This just made me think about how cross culture mission is good for us, sharing the Gospel to all nations, sharing Grace and not bashing them with religion. It’s what the church needs to do. It’s what we need to do within the church community and our evangelism. Except most the time we like to hit our western heads with the law because it makes us feel productive and strangely convinced that we are achieving something worthwhile in this culture where we can say – “look what we did..” When all we are really doing is taking our eyes off Jesus and staying under a curse and causing others to feel very guilty…