The day started at 8am with battling the traffic to pick up the Relay Workers Stu, Helen & Rach from Bournbrook and Bournville, proceeding to JB's where we gratefully received some rather good filter coffee and spent a couple of hours preparing a study in Romans 1.16-2.1 & 3.9-20 for CU small groups in the West Midlands. Our prayers were answered that we would not only study, or prepare a study, but that God would do some open heart surgery through his word, by the Spirit who breathed it out.
From there Helen joined me in heading straight to Hartpury College: over an hour's drive made more enjoyable than usual by chat with Helen about theology of church, the importance of things of secondary importance, denominations, church governance and various other things, and a soundtrack of Sovereign Grace Music. Arriving 15 minutes early, we paused for a picnic lunch in the car before joining the CU leader/founder Jez for freshers' fayre. Jez had already singlehandedly produced flyers, stuck CU publicity on cans of beans / spaghetti and arranged for them to be delivered to each flat on campus, booked a stall for the CU and made a sign for it. Then, on his own student-wise, in a small college of strong relationships where everyone knows him, he stood and manned the stall - only having asked me to join him for help because he thought it'd be more welcoming to girls! Between welcoming freshers and others who signed up - both Christian and non-Christian (Jez's witness being key with some there), he chatted about how God had arranged for him to play for the college's football teams without going through the ungodly initiation stuff, and how he doesn't drink when he's out with the team since the only point of it is to get drunk. He gets a bit of stick for it, but we had some guys signing up to come along to CU, and taking evangelistic books we had on the table, who've been asking him questions as a result of this witness. I was thrilled again to see how God is at work through just one young man who's prepared to live for Jesus & speak for Jesus on his campus. After prayer, Helen & I headed back glorifying God for what we had heard and seen.
After half an hour touching base at home, it was on to Aston for the evening. By this stage I was exhausted, and on rounding the corner into Aston carpark shot up a brief prayer: "Lord you know how tired & weak I am, and I know this is really small for you, but/so could you please turn the heart of the security man so I don't have to spend as much energy as last time trying to persuade them to let me into the carpark?" Rolling down my window on approach to the intercom post, I reached out my hand to press the button - and before I could touch it, the barrier raised! Small mercies, bringing much thankfulness to God. So then, dinner and planning with Agape office staff who also serve on Aston campus, before it was back to Aston CU's first main meeting of term. The room was packed, and I was up to speak on what CU is, introducing UCCF. Actually I spoke more on the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord, based on Romans 1.1-7, and the implications for being students - which does include what Christian Union is, but that's not the main point. It's glorious and precious to speak of Jesus being both Lord and Christ, even if all I could feel was my weakness. Still praying for the word to take root and live on in those who heard it - both Christians and those who aren't yet, but who came to that first meeting. Gave away free copies of Areopagus by Roger, and sold a couple of Pure, while catching up with returning students and meeting new ones. Following a chat with a student at Birmingham Christian College who wants to help the CU reach out to Muslim students, we headed home, Helen rejoicing in having helpfully shared with a student about what we'd seen in Romans at the very start of the day. Thus we collapsed at 10.30pm, rejoicing in God's gospel being his power to save believers, and I close with quoting Helen: "You have the best job in the world, but oh boy we need more staff!"