Redefining what it means to be a student: Mim Heritage

I ended up being classmates with Mim whilst I was popping into Durham to do a Masters and she was a fresher with a raw gift to preach, a brilliant sense of humour and a college-famed habit of baking and sharing unbelievable treats. Mim is also redefining what it means to be a student and I just wanted to share her with you all, so I asked her some questions...

Where are you a student and what are your studying?

2nd Year studying Theology at Durham University 

How did you get your passion for mission and evangelism? 

I know they’d be pretty embarrassed if they ever read this but, I genuinely think my passion for mission and evangelism comes from watching my parents. Mum trained as a GP and felt God call her to a surgery in a brilliant but tough working-class area of Birmingham. Dad, a house husband, initially began volunteering at the local church toddler group as a security guard (long story!) but enjoyed it so much that he later started leading it.

Growing up, I watched them serve day in and day out. They rejoiced in the highs, persevered with the lows, and never once backed down. It’s certainly not always been easy and significant sacrifices have definitely been made along the way but, 25 years later, they are both still faithfully following Jesus in those places. Their stories aren’t particularly extraordinary, but they are ones of simple obedience in the everyday. For me, that’s what mission and evangelism is.

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

One of my highlights of university has been playing cricket for the Uni team. Last summer, we qualified for the final at Lords Cricket ground - if I’ve lost you it’s like the equivalent of Wembley to football or Wimbledon to tennis. It was the kind of match that mini Mim playing in the back garden with her brothers dreamed of. My family had travelled to watch, the stands were packed with supporters, and I had an absolute shocker playing possibly the worst game of cricket I’d ever played.

Unsurprisingly, I was gutted. My captain and the only other Christian on the team, saw this and texted me from across the changing room the words “remember we live for an audience of one” and that was it. The simple yet overwhelming reminder that I am loved and accepted irrespective of my successes or failures.

As someone who has lived much of their life seeking the approval of others this truth literally changes everything.  With Jesus in my life, I can finally stop striving and start to live freely. I’m learning that even if the game doesn’t go my way, my essay mark doesn’t match up, my invite to church gets rejected or my efforts feel weak still, even then, Jesus says to me that I am enough.

How are you using your summer this year?

Some of my summer will no doubt be spent in a muddy field somewhere in sunny England, probably regretting my lack of layers. I became a Christian through an organisation called The Girls Brigade. Even though I’ve now moved away for Uni I’m trying to still give a little something back to the organisation that invested so much in me. Part of this involves taking a bunch of girls away for a week in summer. We camp, do outdoor activities, spend quality time together and begin to introduce them to Jesus. My hope is that someday I’ll be even half the leader that so many were to me.

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?

Pretty early on into my time at Uni, someone challenged me to try and contribute far more than I consumed from the city of Durham. I’m still massively trying to work out how to live this out fully but in trying, I’ve realised that for me ‘real life’ begins the moment I lay down my own for the sake of those around me. So, my challenge to you would be the same: to give, really give,to the city that God has placed you in.  Don’t press pause. Burst that student bubble. Get to know names and stories. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. Give outrageously whilst you have the chance. Expect nothing in return. Invest time in your city as if it’s more than just a 3-year springboard to something better. And live like this is your whole life, your whole real life.

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?

Feel free to like JustLove Durham on Facebook to see some of the things I’m involved in as well as some exciting social action projects here in the NE. Equally, if you’re a fan of poor puns and procrastibaking, then my Instagram (@mim_heritage) is for you.

Read more in this redefining students series here: Joe FenwickAbii Birkett, Iggie Clark

Miriam Swaffield

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church to share Jesus with students in Europe and beyond. She lives in Middlesbrough, loves her neighbours and thinks she can surf.

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