Final report Connectweek Leiden, Netherlands

Leiden is one of the Netherlands’ most strategic university cities; holding much historical importance and academic status. As you cycle around the city it is not long before you realise that a large proportion of the city is made up of students – an academic hub comparable to Durham University.

Leiden has several hundred Christian students who attend four major student groups, and the Netherlands remains one of the largest IFES groups in Europe. Mission weeks have been previously organised in the city, but the concept is still relatively new to the student movement. Once again, a small planning team had worked hard to organise a week of lunch-time and evening events.

On the Monday evening, we had a great discussion about faith and science between a Christian professor and an atheist professor. Lots of the Christians who came later wished they had brought their unbelieving friends along. The group hopes to be able to put on more events like this in the future – pray that these would build confidence among the Christians and stir interest in their non-Christian friends.

One girl came to the Wednesday evening event, where Heike and Joe were speaking on ‘the meaning of life’, and I was asked to share my testimony. There was a real move of the Holy Spirit as we saw many students who professed to be Christians struggling with never experiencing the love of Jesus in their hearts, even though they had much head knowledge. As Heike and Joe helpfully answered logical questions surrounding the meaning of life, I shared the personal reality of encountering Jesus’ love that has been transformational. A girl came up to me at the end and desired to experience the love of Jesus. Without any pressure, she wanted to ask Jesus into her life and I was able to pray with her.

Ultimately, it proved to be a fruitful time joining this small team of enthusiastic Christian students to witness in their city. And yet we do see incredible potential for any future mission to far outfly this one. A week of events in Leiden could be truly brilliant if more students from the bigger Christian student associations could see the value in making the most of such a unique evangelistic opportunity. For a country so steeped in popular secularism though, it really motivated us to partner with students so intent on pursuing Jesus and making Him known. Please pray into future breakthroughs as Christ works in and through this faithful group.

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