An update from our mission partner Sophie Clarke who is working with All Souls Church, London.
Term is well and truly under way, and what a busy term it’s been! Second year kicked off back in late August with Forum, UCCF’s annual national training week for CU leaders. A group of 12 from St Andrews joined with just over 1000 others from across Britain for a helpful week of teaching and training before returning for Freshers Week back on patch not long after that. This was a really encouraging time, seeing a big and keen group of first year students joining our mission team. My particular encouragement was hearing of 1st years already inviting their friends to events in their first week at uni, which is an encouraging sign! Since then it’s been “business as usual” and, though at this point in term energy levels are low and moods have the potential to match the greyness of the weather outside, the overall picture is encouraging. So far this term a lot of students have had a chance to hear the gospel – through Freshers Week events, through the witness of CU small groups in halls and through the day-to-day efforts of CU members investing in friendships with unbelieving friends, the gospel has been preached and we rejoice in that! Pray especially for the students who came to ‘Explore’, our follow-up course from Freshers Week. It was encouraging to see a number of people come to every week of Explore, which has just finished. Pray that, as they’ve heard the gospel proclaimed each week and had a chance to ask questions, they’d want to put their trust in Jesus.
I’ve also recently had the chance to head back to my alma mater, as Newcastle CU invited me to speak at some of their Freshers Week events. It’s always a joy to be back in the Toon and it was great to join them for their main CU meeting as well as sing and speak at an acoustic night, sharing how the desire to find someone who’ll love us unconditionally, as we sing about in so many pop songs, is a desire met perfectly in Christ.
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
It’s been a busy term so far, which is why it’s been a long time since my last prayer letter! I aim to now get back into the habit of sending these out at the start of each month, but here are some things still to come in October that I would value your prayers for! I’m once again quite busy with doing various talks, travelling to Glasgow to speak at Caledonian CU’s Acoustic Night on the 19th. It’s St Andrews Reading Week from 23rd-27th, during which I’ll take a couple of days off before heading to Edinburgh for Scotland Team Days on the 26th and 27th. The former will also comprise the Student Ministries Lunch, during which different student mission organisations meet in Edinburgh to have lunch and pray for one another. This will be followed by a weekend in the Scottish Borders from the 27th-29th October, when I’ll be speaking on Ruth at Northumbria CU Weekend Away, so pray for my talks to be helpful and for me to be an encouragement to them
DAY-TO-DAY AS A STAFF WORKER
As I’ve mentioned in previous prayer updates, this year I get the privilege of supervising two ‘Relay’ workers here in St Andrews. Relay is UCCF’s discipleship and evangelism training programme for graduates and in September I got to welcome Abi Zabala and Andrew Barclay who’ll be working alongside St Andrews CU this year. It’s been a great blessing having them both join me, seeing them get stuck in with CU life, get to know the students well and start to invest in people and specific areas within CU. As well as generally being around to support the CU, each of them will be focussing on specific areas - Abi helping with International outreach and Andrew supporting the work of CU small groups. So far they’ve both been doing a good job and I’m already seeing the difference it’s made having an extra couple of people to get alongside students and use their time to serve the CU. Pray for them to grow this year as they spend time studying and serving practically and for me as I supervise them and help the along. Neither of them studie in St Andrews, so considering they’re completely new to the town it’s been great to see how they’ve settled into life here so far. Pray on that, especially as term carries on and things get busy, they’d feel well settled and supported by a church family during their time here.
A JOYOUS FAMILY OCCASION
One personal joy over the last month or so was enjoying time at home for my “wee” sister’s wedding. It was great to share in Jessica’s joy as she married Jason, very much her ‘childhood sweetheart’ (they started dating when they were 14 & 15 respectively!). Pray for the new Mr & Mrs McKinney as they embark on married life together!
PRAYING FOR MATT:
•An encouraging time of training at Forum
•The good start Abi and Andrew have made
•A group of keen, committed first years
•Lots of people hearing the gospel through the CU so far
Please pray for:
•Andrew and Abi as they continue to settle in
•Good rest during Reading Week
•Jessica and Jason as they begin married life
•Talks for Caledonian and Norhumbria CU to be helpful