Swansea ‘Satisfied?’ Mission Week – Final Report

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By Michael Ots

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The Context

This was MOET’s first mission week at Swansea University.  The Christian Union of about 70 members had organised an excellent week of events! Between us, Lindsay Brown and I had spoken on the weekend away, the carol service and the mission launch to help prepare the group for the mission, and they had noticeably grown in confidence over the course of the academic year.

The Plan

After the prayer and team meetings the morning was spent flyering and engaging students around the campus.  Lunch bars were repeated and held in the main student bar; the great advantage of this was that it made the talk very public and we engaged people who would never normally have chosen to come to a tall but ‘just happened to be there’ (reminiscent of Acts 17:17), although the challenge was that there was often a lot of background noise from other parts of the venue.

Evening international meals were held at a local church and the main evening events were in different venues (not ideal but the only option after the university had mixed up the room bookings).

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Here are some of the things that stood out from the week:

The Team. It’s wonderful to work with a great team. Lindsay and I were able to share the speaking and leading of the week, sometimes intermixing in the same talk.  Dewi Jones is a professional sound and lighting engineer and gives up several weeks of paid work to come (for free) to serve in our missions.  He was always first in the venue and the last to leave as he had to set up and pack down a sound and lighting kit twice a day for five days!  Marina (our short term associate from Ukraine) is very gifted at playing the violin and we used her music within many of the talks. The associates, Elisa and Elizabeth and the other CUGs were brilliant at following up contacts through personal conversations through the week. Gareth, as always, did an incredible job of organisation of both the practicalities and the team members. It was a joy to have one of our trustees, Mary Navey, come on a mission for the first time.  We also had Welsh UCCF team members, church apprentices, and IFES guests from Serbia and Slovenia.

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The Creativity. It has been said that a CU can take after their staff worker – Swansea certainly reflected the creativity of theirs.  The students didn’t just hand out flyers but used different means to engage people: music, sandwich boards, funny costumes and even interactive surveys involving mud (when we asked ‘has science buried God?’).

The surprises.  One of the highlights of the week was when a bus load of international students, recently arrived from a very closed Middle Eastern country, turned up to the lunch bar on the uniqueness of Christ!  They came off the back of one flyer they had received a few minutes before – a great reminder of the value of flyering!

Answered prayer. There were several challenges through the week that drove us back to God in prayer. For instance, I was really concerned about trying to do the talk on suffering in such a noisy venue: it would be hard to engage on an emotional level when there were normally people playing pool and chatting around the edge of the room.  However, after specific prayer it was amazing to see that the room feel quiet for both of the talks and, for the first time, no one even tried to play pool!  On another night we were using a local coffee shop. The management had been rather wary about allowing the CU to use it and had limited what they could do. But at the end of the evening they were so impressed by the event and how many had come along that they encouraged the CU to come back and do events every week with no restrictions!

The community.  People sometimes need to belong before they will believe, and one of the marks of the CU in Swansea was its inclusive community that welcomed outsiders and helped them to feel part of the group.  It was this welcome that meant that many people came back to every single talk of the week; some even stayed to listen to the same talk twice at lunch time!

The Response

We were quite astounded by the response of students to the talks!  Despite the fact that the CU itself is no more than 70 strong we saw over 80 leave their phone number to find out more.  This was, proportionately, by the far the highest take up I have seen. Even more encouraging though, was seeing four students clearly profess faith – from China, Hong Kong, India and… Wales!

The Follow Up

The CU have been avidly making contact with those who left details.  An Alpha course will start on Monday and will run twice weekly for the last three weeks of term.  There are also many students who have agreed to do the Uncover Bible studies with their friends.  Pray that people will not lose interest or be lost and that many more come to faith before Easter.

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1 comment

Christine

wonderful.
Wouldn’t it be great if the CU doubled in the one year with half of it’s members being brand new believers?

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