Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

All I Have is Christ May 17, 2011

Filed under: Conferences — Sarah @ 9:40 am
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One of the real highlights of New Word Alive for me this year was singing with hundreds and thousands of other people from around the UK. One of the songs we sung was “All I Have is Christ” by Jordan Kauflin. I love the words and how they go through from being “lost in darkest night” to praising God for saving us. I came across this video today which shows these things really clearly – and shows the stark potential consequences of it…have a look at it


Summer Mission Team Weekend June 9, 2009

Filed under: Christian Life,Conferences — Sarah @ 3:30 pm
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I had the great pleasure this weekend of meeting the Moldova 2009 team at the national training weekend for all those going on a UCCF summer mission trip this year.

The one thing that struck mainly was how diverse the team is. I honestly can not think of one thing that would unite us all apart from the gospel and I am really excited about how God is going to use that. Got to thinking that this must be a really weird thing for non believers to see – 16 British University students, voluntarily giving up three weeks of their summer break, raising £700 to pay for costs, to go and visit a country which the majority of Molodvans can’t wait to get out of. We are choosing to go there!

Also was thinking how excited I was to see how God has changed our hearts and desires. This weekend there was around 100 people who are going on summer teams this summer with UCCF. None of them are going to an “easy” context, in fact the speaker for the weekend, Keith Walker from SIM (Serving in Mission) made that point a couple of times, that there aren’t any ‘easy’ places left! And yet all 100 of us have had our hearts changed by God to go to these countries with a desire to share the amazing truth of the gospel with the students we’ll meet out there and to work along side our brothers and sisters who are working out there already.

If you had told me when I was a fresher at Uni that I would have gone on one mission trip already, and be involved in leading another to the same country in 5 years time and that I would be happy and excited about it I really would have laughed!

It is really great to see how God has changed my heart over the last five years. How he is changing the hearts of the students that are going on the trip and making us all more sacrifical. What an encouragement to see God working in this way!

The teaching over the weekend was great as well. To be reminded of the uniquness of Jesus was something I think I desperatly needed to hear. And it is so true! My fire for wanting to go to Moldova is now based so much mroe firmly on God’s Word and as Matt Redman said “Worship is the fuel for Missions flame”. It’s because of what God has done, because of who He is that we want to worship Him, and spread glory – hence mission!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” Ephesians 1:3

Keith looked at Revelation 7 on Sunday morning and pointed out that this vision is something that God showed John as an encouragement that God will keep promises. The “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9) aren’t just faceless people – they are all those who have been saved, me, my church family, the other Christians I know – how exciting is that!

One of my main prayers for our mission trip is that those we encouter this summer, who haven’t accepted the truth of the gospel for themselves, will and will become one of those great multitude.

Praise to God who has the power to change us from living in darkness to the light!


Deprivation and the Gospel

Filed under: Christian Life,Conferences — Sarah @ 2:41 pm
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A few of us from church went to a conference recently which was thinking about ‘reaching the unreached’, those who live in situations where there seems to be very little gospel input, which is increasingly council estates and so on.

I was quite disturbed that through the conference, those we were talking about reaching were referred to as the “under class” as well as working class.

I didn’t feel that there was a great call for us to sacrifically give up our comfort to live amongst these people (as was briefly noted that we wouldn’t dream of doing ‘cross cultutral’ mission work as a one off so why should reaching these ares be different). But more of a conscience clearer for many in very comfortable positions. I came away feeling that there was no real love for these people, and no sense that they are no different to us! Instead it felt that people did indeed see them as an underclass, and actually a bit of an annoyance because they aren’t like us. This could be a bit harsh and most probably wasn’t what was intended at all.

There were notable to exceptions to this, for example Steve Casey, from Speke Evangelical in Liverpool spoke really humbly and honestly about life working in a council estate community.

Lack of academic qualifications doesn’t mean that people are stupid, nor does it mean that they need preaching and teaching ‘dumbed downed’, a point which was repeatedly made . . . why was there the assumption that people in urban areas are stupid?

It seemed that the organisation was done by those who have never had the contact with these communities that others have had, and are living on stereotypes! Surely, all of us have a role to play here. Can our large, majority white, middle class, affluent churches afford to lose people, to send them them to go and serve in these deprived areas?

Surely, we should be encouraging people to go and sacrifically live in these areas that have no access to the gospel, and doing what we can to support those working in these hard areas?

It really saddens me that in this country there’s still a lack of access to the gospel for people literally on our doorsteps


Muddy Forum and Southend tours September 8, 2008

Filed under: Conferences — Sarah @ 11:19 am
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Just back from my fourth Forum! Madness! Was quite weird being there and not being a student or relay worker but I did have a lot of fun in the kitchen with the other volunteer cooks which was great.

Got me thinking about my first Forum and how influencial UCCF and the associated training has been to me. My first Forum was in 2005 and I was just heading into my second year at uni. I thought I pretty much knew everything and was great mainly because I was a CU leader – that didn’t last much more than an hour into the conference tho! Was really challenged by Terry Virgo speaking on Romans and sin in general. That was the first time that the gospel really opened up for me and I saw just how deep it really was and that there was so much mroe to it that I understtod – which then was so so shallow. The next two years through New Leaders Training weekends, another Forum and just input from our staff worker – Peter Dray – really helped me but Relay last year was yet another big challenge in seeing the depth and truth of the gospel over and over. I am so grateful to UCCF for everything that they have taught me and the many oppurtunites I have had to grow as a Christian.

This year was no exception. Although I was there ‘working’ I was able to make all of the main meetings which was great and I was able to hear John Piper on Ruth which was a book that i knew very little about but learnt so much about in terms of how it fits in with Jesus. It was so helpful to see how the Bible expects us to have dark days and we shouldn’t be surprised by them but actually we have a God who will see us through those days even though we won’t be able to see that at the time. Amazing!

Forum was also great for me to catch up with some friends from Lancaster which I really appreciated although saying goodbye was hard! And the mud! The mud was like nothing I’ve ever seen before – even had to go and buy wellies! You can see from the photos just how bad it was! But it was so great to be there and just have some great teaching – although not officialy involved in UCCF anymore it was great to still benefit from the teaching they’re equipping current CU leaders with.

So, I am now back in Southend which is nice. Coming back was hard on Friday (not helped by te horrendous weather on the motorway) but once I was back it felt ok! Had the chance to explore a little with Jon Delves (the other Ferndale intern) so did the pier (a disappointment!) and East beach (less of so) and Tomassi’s (an amazing ice cream parlour!)

the not so pleasureable longest pleasure pier in the world

the not so pleasureable longest pleasure pier in the world

And – I can now get to church, the Dray’s, ASDA, Tesco and town without the Sat Nav! Woo!!!