Redefining what it means to be a student: Abi Birkett

I met Abii in a field last year as we gathered for Wildfires festival and she got my attention. She is bold, creative, humble and adventurous. She is also a student and the kind that reminds me why we believe students can lead and set culture for the kingdom on campus today. I wanted you to meet her too, so I asked her some questions...

Where are you a student and what are you studying?

I am a 3rd year student studying 'Graphic Design’ at the surfing haven that is Falmouth University. 

How did you get your passion for mission and evangelism?

At school we once had the opportunity to decorate our own white t-shirt. After some consideration I advertently decided that ‘Jesus Christie loves you’ in big capitals would be a suitable choice. 

I was 7. 

Looking back I recognise that was a bold move. 

And an odd spelling error.

So it seems since becoming a Christian I always wanted to share about Jesus. I’m a ‘Mish-kid’ (my parents were overseas missionaries) so you would think the evangelical gene was strongly inherited however I was never directly brought up to actively share the gospel - at least not verbally.

Instead I noticed through my school years that whenever Jesus was mentioned in a more secular context I would get very excited. With this came opportunities to debunk some stereotypes of Christianity that many believe to be true. 

At the moment I enjoy making things that express Christianity whether it be quite obvious about Jesus or something that simply has love at the centre of it. Creativity is an evangelistic gift. 

Can you tell me a story of Jesus making a difference in your life as a student?

There have been so many instances where Jesus has directed, and comforted me in these three years I have been at Uni. It may take a while to dictate all of the stories to you but here are a few. 

Last year I went through a difficult time of exhaustion. For a project, I created a small 3D triangle to help explain how worship works at church. As I explained it in a small seminar room many other students were intrigued and asked some great questions. As I was leaving my atheist tutor stops me and says “He is really proud of you”. That went straight to my heart. 

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Another time I was in the U.S on a small uni trip. The trip overlapped on a Sunday so the idea of visiting a local church came to mind. I emailed one of the lecturers who was running the trip. He is also a Christian - how flippin’ insane! Turns out he was thinking of going too. So we rocked up together. Worshiping in California with my lecturer is probably the most encouraging experience I’ve had. 

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One evening I was walking through Falmouth town back to my house. I saw a figure cross the road and they started walking a few yards ahead of me. God told me his name was ‘Jake’ and said I should speak to him. When he reached the bus stop I caught up with him. “Hi there, this might sound weird but does the name Jake mean anything to you?” He responded and told me that, yes, that was his name.  After explaining what had just happened we were both baffled. I still have no idea who or where he is but hope God spoke to him that night. 

How are you using your summer this year?

I went out to Kenya last summer to shoot a documentary about children living on the streets of Nairobi and the people groups who are helping them return to their homes. The film is due to be finalised and released soon so some of my summer will be showing the film to audiences here in the UK. 

I’m also helping out at a few Christian festivals and camps which is always such a crazy time!  

I graduate this summer so the main thing is to figure out what’s next. God’s placed a few things on my heart in the past few months which is pretty scary but equally exciting so the next immediate steps remain unknown - an environment I’ve learnt He loves. 

If a student is reading this who thinks being a student is limiting and they can't really get on with 'real life' yet, what would you tell them? 

1) Faith in the ‘Mundane’  

We so often don’t live in the present and forget about the things we take for granted. I’ve noticed it’s so easy for me to look at all the things I may be missing out on instead of being grateful for the opportunities I have had. We often think that if we’re not having an amazing time all of the time then something is wrong. But our Faith is alive even in the mundane routines. These ‘boring’ episodes is sometimes where God is at work the most. 

2) Learn from the wiser. 

Spend time with people at your church and build relationships with them, have dinner with them. These guys are often so grounded and have a different perspective of life that is refreshing and wise. It will also let you escape that ‘Uni Bubble’ and introduce you to different life experiences. 

3) Theres no one way to ‘Evangelise’ . 

Each mission field is different and i’m still learning how others share Jesus. Some are very upfront and others are more subtle. In order to love people we need everyone, of all personalities and unique walks of life. If our Faith is authentic we wont be ‘striving’ to share the gospel but this will occur naturally whatever that looks like. Don’t be discouraged if your evangelism and mission looks different to somebody else's. 

(Miriam here, on this brilliant point, why not 'Discover your Mission Style'?!)

If we want to know more about who you are, what you're up to and what you're involved in, where can we click next?

Hit me up whenever, we’re family. 

bezalelandtribe.co.uk — Website

abiibirkett@live.com — Email 

@abii_birkett — Social Media

Read more in this redefining students series here: Iggie Clark

Miriam Swanson

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church for student mission internationally. She's based in the USA and hungry to see young adults follow Jesus with all of who they are. 

Partner with Miriam