Living in a Field of Hats

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

FREE at University of Cumbria November 18, 2008

What a week it has been! The start of Cumbria mission week was a bit of a shock to the system – really wasn’t used to late nights and still getting up the next morning. But it was also an amazing week. The mission, also combined the FREE gospel distribution and there was an aim of 1000 gospels and around 700 were given out throughout the week which was amazing! I was so encouraged to see so many of the CU getting behind the week and inviting friends – and so many of them did what I didn’t have the guts to do when I was at Uni – standing up in front of their whole lecture 102theatre and offering everyone there a copy of Mark’s gospel. It was so great to see that misison week wasn’t the week where they did ‘evangelism’ but actually they seem to be getting into it as a whole year thing.

During the morning we were around campus doing questionnaires and giving people flyers inviting them to events that were happening throughout the week. I was so encouraged and remdind just how open people generally are at the University of Cumbria to talk about things and to come along to events as well as the reminder that we need to rely solely on God for the confidence and courage to walk up to people! There was also a stall in the Students Union which had random fairground style games to attract attention to what we were doing, which is did and so many of the people that came over just couldn’t believe it was all free. It was also, a great opportunity to offer people the chance to take a copy of Mark to read for themselves, and so many of them did – another amazing encouragement. 103

The first event of the day was a ‘lunchbar’ basically a free lunchtime talk with a free lunch! The titles were all based on the question “What would Jesus say to …” and included people such as Michael Phelps and Jennifer Aniston. So many people came wanting to hear what this “fictional” creature could have to say to these celebrities and there were a few who came back day after day to listen and to ask their questions at the end. (pictured is Anna speaking at a lunchbar – right)

At the acoustic nightThe evenings were full of lots of different events such as an acoustic night (see picture on the left) and a pub quiz. All of them had a talk from Mark’s gospel, and as I always am in evangelistic events so many people were interested and wanting to talk the issues through.Others have also been blogging about the mission – see Mo (who was the main speaker of the week along with his lovely wife Anna) and Peter Dray who’s blogged about the mission but also about the reason we should be praising God:

But perhaps above all we should be praising the Lord that he’s the sort of God who wants relationship with creatures like us, that he’s the sort of God that comes not to be served but to serve, and to sort of God who accepts us if only we admit that we are ill and sinful and have nothing to offer, and approach him as children.

Such a great truth!

And finally doing a mission in my home town also meant I had the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones . . . . my friends new baby, Barnabas 🙂

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Tales from the North November 10, 2008

Since Wednesday evening, I have been ‘up North’ which is very exciting! It’s my first proper trip North (36 hours for Esther and Darrens Wedding really doesn’t count!) and I have seen so many people which has been fantastic.

I’ve spent some really great time with my mum, going shopping and just spending some really good quality time together.Went up to Kendal and into Lancaster and mainly pottered doing Me and my godson, Bennothing. And, for once I thought ahead and have bought a fair few of the Christmas presents for Northern people so I don’t have to neogtiate them onto the train at Christmas but instead leave them at my mums- genius!  Got to see Ben, my godson which was great – he’s said he’s coming to visit me in Southend but Mummy might not be allwoed to come! And it’s really weird, ever since I got off the train, I actually just felt at home! Southend feels like a bit of a dream. A good one I hasten to add, but nevertheless a bit of a dream.

I’ve done a bit more since Saturday (which some how was only yesterday . . .though by the time I finish the post it’ll probably be technically 2 days ago) Getting very wet at the fireworks!as seeing lots of different people generally requires doing a bit more. Had lunch with an amazing friend and was really encouraged. Had dinner with some other friends (and was introduced to the idea of having fried apples with bangers, mash and onion gravy – sounds rank but is actually quite good!). But the highlight of Saturday has to be the legnedary Lancaster fireworks! I have been for so many years it was really exciting to be home to see them, but even more exciting was running into friends from Uni who had come from Preston to see the fireworks too! How exciting although amazingly wet!

Today (sunday), I’ve been to church and was overwhelmed by the generosity and support of so many who clearly had been praying for me and were willing to make financial sacrifices. lunch with some student friends . . who don't appear that happy to see me!I felt like I’d never been away (seeing people look at me, turn away and then realise that I’m not part of the furniture anymore was actually hilarious!). Going to ‘spoons for lunch with the students and then just chilling with some good friends this afternoon was great. I feel so at home here, but weirdly I think that it does feel right for me to be just a visitor, though granted that might change over the course of this week.

6pm today saw the official start of University of Cumbria Mission Week! So, that’s what I’ll be doing all week. Peter Dray has summed up what we are doing really well on his blog.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared but I can’t wait! I’m already relearning that students like to start hard discussions late at night, and don’t do assignments til very late the night before they are due (hence when I am writing this now!) but I think I do love it

(Southern people . . . .Don’t worry, I am planning on coming back! Especially as it’s now 12.30am and I have to be up for prayers in the morning . . .I can’t cope with the student lifestyle long term!)