Student Networks: Reaching Out & Retreat
Dave, Rachel and Cecilia, serving as interns on the Students’ team this year share stories of God at work through our Networks. Juliet and Kirsten, two students, also share stories of God at work in their lives and through the student community.
"Students are living for Jesus on campus, on their courses and in their accommodation."
[Dave] Working with the students at St G’s is such an immense privilege; they are a great bunch and certainly keep my work interesting! They think they are just normal, everyday people muddling through, but God uses them so greatly right where they are; seeing him move amongst them is endlessly encouraging.
How are students reaching out? [Dave] It’s great to see students setting up CUs in the Art College and College of Music, running associated alpha courses and giving individuals the opportunity to wrestle with the questions surrounding Christianity. Students are living for Jesus on campus, on their courses and in their accommodation.
[Juliet] CU events week is a period of intensive mission on campus. One thing that really stood out to me this year was the sense of a deep, loving community in the Morning Prayer meetings that went beyond people just ‘getting along with each other’. This meant that the tent we used during the day was a place of open community; we were joined by around 20 Muslims from the ‘Discover Islam Week’ events. This was where people joined in and built new friendships.
[Juliet] Thursday evening stood out to me as well, and not just because the St G’s Students’ team cooked us a great meal! One particular girl, who had never been to church before, had come along to a previous night and decided that she loved it so much that she brought 12 other people with her that night. My housemate also came to this night and as a result she said she wants to get to know Jesus and begin to trust him. None of this could have happened without St G’s serving us; whether that be through food; sharing wisdom or letting us use their music equipment at the last minute.
What has God been doing in Central Network? [Rachel] God is bringing students together to become one community that encourages each other; He has blessed us to be able to support each other through our times at university, with all of the struggles that life brings. We have a real mix of students from all the different colleges around Leeds. Some students also coming to St G’s for the first time this year, and it’s been really exciting to welcome them and bond as a community.
[Rachel] God has been blessing the various CUs in Leeds through Central Network. We’ve been able to prayerfully support them, especially Leeds College of Art which was recently set up by a couple of students from our Network and recently got official recognition by the Student Union.
Lucy Freeman tweeted; ‘Leeds College of art CU is now official! And we're a little bit excited! This year is going to be awesome.’
[Rachel] We’ve also been able to support CUs by attending events as a Network, including the Leeds University events week.
Tell us about the weekend away... [Cecilia] The Student weekend away in The Jonas Centre, Wensleydale refreshed and energized me massively through the talks on the book of Revelation, sung worship and bible studies. Spending time alone with God, away from the crowds, provided a great opportunity to just listen to Him and enjoy his presence.
[Kirsten] Dan Tyler delivered 4 talks looking at the book of Revelation, helping us to understand the true meaning of the scriptures and the significance they have in our lives because of the hope that Jesus brings. The talks revealed that by looking at the bigger picture of the scriptures, God gives us a promised blessing.
"Throughout the weekend we were constantly reminded of how big and great God is beyond our comprehension."
[Kirsten] On Saturday 4 different seminar options were available, helping us to grow deeper and further in our relationship with God. In the afternoon we took the opportunity to explore God’s wonderfully made creation together as we took time out from city life in Leeds and went for a countryside walk in the Dales. Throughout the weekend we were constantly reminded of how big and great God is beyond our comprehension.
What were the highlights? [Kirsten] On Sunday afternoon we spent time in deep worship together, singing praises of His greatness before gathering in small groups to pray and prophesy over each other in a powerful way, listening to what God wanted to say to us. After an amazing weekend together we are feeling refreshed and ready to serve our amazing God.
"After an amazing weekend together we are feeling refreshed and ready to serve our amazing God."
Where was God at work? [Cecilia] It was the first time for some international students, who are seeking God, to experience a Christian retreat. I strongly felt God called them to be there and opened their hearts. We were all so willing to share the amazing work God has been doing in our lives as Christians and were able to talk honestly, encouraging each other to learn more about Jesus.
"Seeing God at work was such an encouragement to me and strengthened my faith in serving Him."
[Cecilia] We prayed for each other about worries and concerns that we were carrying. One girl said: “I felt God answer my prayer, he helped me clean out all the worries in my head and I felt so relieved.” Another student told me she felt a seed of the Holy Spirit had been planted in her heart during the weekend. Seeing God at work was such an encouragement to me and strengthened my faith in serving Him.
What can StG’s pray? [Kirsten] It would be great if the family of St G’s could pray for the students this month, that we use our time well and become active disciples of Jesus in Leeds, with a close and personal relationship with Him.
[Juliet] There are so many stories of God at work within our student community. Please pray that our conversations, prayers and bible studies with our friends begin to move them from intrigue to falling in love with the person of Jesus.