It actually makes me feel a bit emotional when I look down the list of over ninety names and comments from those who sponsored me last week.
I can’t quite believe it. Nearly one hundred people gave over one thousand pounds to support school leavers in the massive and crucial life-shift from home to university through Student Linkup. That’s a whole crowd of people standing up and saying “they matter!” when it comes to those younger than us in faith and life, working out who they are and not losing their heads, their hearts, their faith when they are thrown into the big university challenge.
I firmly believe that when we all pull together, when we all connect up and cheer each other on, we see greater things happen than we could have ever imagined on our own. I have faith that when ninety-something people give, encourage and play a part that only they could have played, into this bigger story of seeing thousands reach their full potential at uni, this has power. This has impact. Team work makes the dream work.
In the bible, in the book 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul compares people working together as the church community, to the human body. He says,
‘God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.’
In the same way, my 90 Challenge to sponsor the 90 days of Student Linkup, was not possible alone. My part in the challenge was obvious of course, as I was the one to wear an elephant suit for 90 hours, but without nearly one hundred people also taking up the task of reaching the sponsorship target, and joining the journey, my challenge would have ceased to exist. It would have been like a severed head lying on the floor, looking vital but achieving nothing. It would have been a literal awkward elephant in the room.
Have a look and a read down my sponsor’s messages on my giving page; they are the arms and legs, the skeleton that held the challenge up for 90 hours… the dream team (feel free to join said 'dream team' by donating something too!). It reminds me how God didn’t create us humans to live alone. In fact, he says when he makes the first person, Adam, that “It is not good for the man to be alone” and so he cracks on with making him a team mate. In the same way, it would have been no good for me to be an elephant alone, trumpeting about a cause with no one listening. We are built to be in community, we are made to be a family that reaches beyond biology, and when I realise how many people sponsored me who I don’t even know, or don’t get to see very often, as well as mates who don’t have a lot of cash to give, I recognise how much I need people, this massive family, the dream team.
So, thank-you. From the bottom of my heart, in the depths of my elephant-suited-self, thank-you. And I pray and believe the repercussions of the team’s giving will go further and be more campus-shaping and world-changing than we could have ever asked or imagined alone.