“I was so scared. I could have died and so would my baby. There must be a God who has a plan for me, because it’s a miracle I’m still here.”
The Palestinian girl put her hands on her stomach and began to quietly cry, tears rolling down her pale cheeks from her big dark eyes, now brimming with the emotion of her near-death experience.
I sat next to this beautiful girl, we’ll call her Dee, in the sunshine on a bench in the centre of campus at Queen Mary Uni. I was serving with the local church Every Nation, out and about for fresher’s week. As we sought to bless and impact the students there I’d ended up sitting down next to Dee. She'd only been in the UK two days, was all alone and quite frightened. Dee nearly got hit by a taxi because our cars drive on the other side of the road and she instinctively looked the wrong way. Only because a woman shouted and grabbed her back did Dee not get seriously hurt.
I said I’d love her to consider that God is closer than she may realise, that he loves her and that he wants to know her because he made her deliberately. Then she suddenly welled up and came out with her taxi story. It’s in moments like this that the real hope we have in Jesus proves itself. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, we can tell of the One who is constant and loving. It made me realise how important it is for local churches to be present on campus during Freshers to look out for people like Dee.
The Every Nation guys have got to be one of the local churches most committed to impacting Fresher’s week I’ve seen or heard about. They tried out a range of mission ideas to meet and connect with people. For example, doing surveys on campus about belief in God (they use ones called The God Test), turned out to be a brilliant tool; it started great conversations and allowed the swapping of contact details as the beginnings of friendships were formed. My conversation with Dee started because I was handing out the church’s welcome party flyers where she was sat.
As I travel round the UK serving local churches as they love their universities my hope is to share the lessons learnt and wisdom gained. My aim is, as I document The Road Trip, the sterling efforts of local churches are honoured, we are all inspired, and Jesus is made famous. Learn from this London story, have a go a getting out and about in Freshers week with something to share, whether that be a flyer, your faith, your friendship. Look out for people like Dee on your campus, take the time to stop for the ones to tell them of the One.
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn