As I write this update, the smell of spiced apple and cinnamon wafting through the room and the Love Actually soundtrack playing on Spotify, I can hardly believe that November is over and Christmas is just a few weeks away!
Things are winding down now after a busy term, and November has felt like a particularly full-on month. I am really enjoying my job with UCCF and life in general in St Andrews but will be very glad for a couple of quieter weeks before some time off at home. I am very thankful for the chance I’ve had this month to catch up with friends, with one of my old friends from Newcastle coming to visit early in the month.
On the work side of things, I was really encouraged this month by going down to T1, a training week for all first-year staff. Spending a few days with my fellow first years was a really nice time, and I am deeply encouraged by their stories of how this first term has gone.T1 leads straight into House Party (the CU weekend away), which meant driving from the Cotswolds to Kinross – an epic journey! Despite this, House Party was a great time of getting to know more people in the
CU. I was particularly encouraged by a number of first years I spoke to who have been reading the Bible with their friends. Mark Ellis, our speaker for House Party and our February mission week, spoke at our CU carol service at the very end of November – this was a brilliant evening, with around 300 students (more than half of whom are not CU members) gathering in a local church to hear the message of how Christmas is personal.
November also saw a lot of Scotland team days, the Words for Life weekend away in Arbroath and a visit to Glasgow to deliver a lunchtime talk entitled, ‘Uncovering the grand narrative; What does the Bible say to English students?’. So all in all, it’s been busy! All of these things have been helpful experiences but have left me pretty shattered; do pray for good energy levels as term wraps up in the next couple of weeks.
Day-to-day as Staff Worker: Euan and Esther
Esther and Euan serve as the president and vice-president of St Andrews CU and one of the highlights of my job is getting to work alongside them as they lead the CU in their mission on campus. We meet every Tuesday morning, occasionally enjoying some tea and scones together. As well as making sure the week-to-week admin involved in CU leadership is ticking along, this is a helpful chance for me to read the Bible with Esther and Euan, check in on how they’re doing personally and pray for them. Please join me in praying that they’d keep walking closely with the Lord in the midst of CU leadership, that they’d keep a love for Him and a desire to make Him known at the centre of every decision they make on behalf of the CU.
‘I love seeing how people from all sorts of backgrounds come together because they love God and want to support one
another in sharing Him with others.’ - Euan
‘I’ve had the privilege of opening up the Bible with non-believing friends and seeing them meet Jesus for the first time. CU life is so exciting because God’s Word is living and active and we get to see that put into practice in so many ways!’ –Esther
Its the most wonderful tiime of the year - Andrew Williams
After a full-on term, capped off by a very busy November, December is a welcome change of pace for most Staff Workers! The only big thing coming up this month is the Stirling CU carol service on 5 December. I’ve been asked to give a short evangelistic talk at this quite last minute, so pray for a good time in preparation and clarity in speaking! We also have our Christmas team days on 15 and 16 December. Pray for a good, helpful time together reflecting on this term and planning ahead for the new year.
Also, pray for me to use a quieter couple of weeks in St Andrews well. Students are currently busy with exams and revision, so pray I’d be able to get important admin, study and preparation for next term done before heading home for Christmas. In particular, I’ll be preparing a series of hall group Bible studies on Abraham, so pray for wisdom in making these helpful for encouraging the CU in evangelism.
Christmas is always a great time to spend together as a family, but this year is particularly special as Gemma, my big sister, is getting married! Pray for her and Mark as they get all the last minute details sorted for their wedding on New Year’s Eve, and as they prepare for this new chapter of life together. And pray I’d be a good, helpful brother when I’m home!
‘Stars please shine the way for me, show the one that I have followed to see how far I’ve come...’ Dawes
As a busy term draws to a close, I’m left pretty shattered, but very thankful. So far I’ve learnt a lot during my time
on staff, not just about the practicalities of supporting a CU, but a lot about who I am in Christ – the depth of my sin and brokenness and the extent of His glorious grace! I genuinely feel that doing this amazing job in this beautiful town has been good for my soul, so please do pray that I’d be using all the blessings of life on staff and life in Fife to fight sin and grow in godliness every day.
Give thanks for:
Around 300 students hearing the gospel at St Andrews CU’s carol service
Training and encouragement at T1, House Party and Words for Life
Quality time with friends in the midst of a busy month
A lovely term doing a job I love in a place I love!
Please pray for:
Preparation for Stirling CU carol service talk
Esther and Euan as they lead the CU in their mission to campus
Good use of time to study/prepare before Christmas
Gemma and Mark as they prepare for their wedding and married life