In the midst of lockdown many student workers have found themselves furloughed. This has proven to be a time of both challenge and encouragement for those in this position who are involved in student ministry. Here Lois, student worker at Holy Trinity Leicester, shares her reflections and experiences on Furlough.
Kicking off this academic year I didn’t expect that I would finish it being furloughed, that I would say goodbye to students that I had walked besides for three or more years via a Zoom call, and yet despite these obviously sad events there has been change. Change in my ministry, in my perspective, and change in the pace of life that I had grown used to.
Back in February we focused our student weekend away on rest. I thought it was an odd topic for God to give me for the weekend, as normally the weekends are a time to get fired up and excited for student mission. But now I see that God was preparing us for this time! A time to be stiller than we have been before, to take note of things around us, to learn what is most important to us, to cherish moments that would have just happened before, and to ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
"Who am I when all the things around me are stripped right back?"
During lockdown I have tried to put my money where my mouth is, to think about the things that are most important to me, the passions I had forgotten about, the things I love doing. Having more time to be still and hear what God is saying. More time to spend reading and listening, to process and make decisions. I have found myself asking bigger questions like ‘Who am I when all the things around me are stripped right back?’ ‘ What is God saying to me right here and now?’ ‘How have I adapted to these circumstances and what should continue when lockdown ends?’
Though I am not working at the moment and have limited contact with students I am so excited for the season we are in for student mission. It feels like since our world has shifted, a lot of the barriers to us sharing faith have been lowered, we are bolder on social media with sharing faith, and inviting friends to reach out to Jesus. We are braver and hungrier to see God’s kingdom come through prayer.
"Students who have begun to consider that there has to be more to life than our current experience, and who are seeking, who are knocking, and who will find faith in Jesus."
One thing that has really encouraged me is that one of our students had been praying for her friend to come to faith. Over lockdown, she opened up the bible, read Genesis and decided she believed it and gave her life to God! (To read more, click here)
Going into next term, I am super excited to meet students who have broadened their horizons when it comes to openness around spirituality as a response to the recent events. Students who have begun to consider that there has to be more to life than our current experience, and who are seeking, who are knocking, and who will find faith in Jesus.