Redefining what it means to be a student: Abi Alsop

We've been a big fan of Abi and the way she lives Jesus and justice at uni for a while now, so we've decided its only right to share who she is so that you can get inspired too. Here's the interview we did with her, enjoy...

Where are you a student and what are you studying?

I study Speech and Language Therapy in Manchester.

How did you get your passion for mission and evangelism? 

I’ve been massively blessed to grow up in a family of believers. Seeing my family live missionally developed a passion in me to tell others about Jesus. My Nan taught me about loving people on the fringes of society. My brother (who works for Fusion now!) was at uni a few years before me and modelled courageous evangelism. My Mum speaks at church regularly and has inspired me to preach. I could go on! Over the years I’ve had some amazing mentors and received great training that’s increased my confidence in mission (shout out to Fusion!). Ultimately my passion to share the good news lies at the foot of the cross, where Jesus defeated death and released me into life.

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

I started uni after a gap year with an amazing international development charity. I was inspired by the power of the church, working together in unity to fight poverty. I wanted to inspire others to show the love of God tangibly in our city. To see a cultural shift amongst students who see social justice as an integral part of the gospel.

With a couple of mates, I set up Just Love Manchester. We’re part of a bigger movement of Christian students who are hungry for a move of God. To see leaders rise up equipped to love the lost, the broken, and the poor. Jesus has challenged me to use my time as a student to get stuck into local volunteering. He’s brought me close to the vulnerable. Every Wednesday afternoon I go down to a homeless shelter and have a brew with friends on the streets. I’m also involved in a night shelter for refugees, cooking a meal or setting out roll mats. Whilst my academic studies have taught me a great deal, Jesus has been teaching me hugely invaluable lessons. I know my purpose. I know I’ll be loving the broken for the rest of my life.

How are you using your summer this year?

I hope to use this summer to grow and learn. It’s pretty great to have 4 months off! I’ll be attending some Christian conferences, and likely volunteering on team at some. I’m looking forward to travel with friends and family. I’ll be doing some part time work at a holiday club for kids in my community and I have the opportunity to do some public speaking coaching too! It’s tempting to cram my summer full, but this year I’m eager to rest well and envision what’s next as I enter my last year of uni.

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?

‘Real life’ or being a ‘proper adult’ is kind of an illusion. The young professionals and other adults in our churches are figuring things out just like the students. Take hold of the freedom you have at university, don’t let it pass you by. Uni life can be demanding but we have so much time. We’re surrounded by amazing resources and mentors. We can craft our weeks around our passions. If its money or experience you’re worried about, God is greater. Lack of finance hasn’t stopped him yet. You can develop habits now that will stick with you as you transition into work. This time is so foundational. If you desire to see change around you take the next small step. Student life is only limiting if we allow it to be.

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?

If you want to stay in touch and see what I’m up to feel free to follow me @abi.alsop on Instagram. For more about how my mates and I are pursuing justice at uni follow @justlovemanchester on Instagram. And if you’re ever in Manchester, let’s get coffee.

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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