When I came to university, I hadn’t been to church in seven years. Being from Northern Ireland, I’d grown up in church but even though it was familiar to me, I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, nor did I really know what that meant. I suppose logically I could understand Christianity, but it didn’t have any impact on my heart. That all changed when I came to university. At Christmas time, first year, my Hindu flatmate was asked by her Christian friend to come along to a Christmas service at her church, and my flatmate in turn asked my other flatmate, an atheist, and myself, at the time probably agnostic, to join her.
So a Christian, a Hindu, an Atheist and an Agnostic walk into church one Christmas…it sounds like the start of a joke, but that night started a change in me that led me to becoming a Christian almost a year later.
This church was unlike any I’d been to before. For one, a considerable part of the people there were between 18-25, and everything from the worship music to the sermon, I felt like I could relate to. It wasn’t anything like how church growing up had been for me, yet it felt completely familiar and completely like home. So I kept going.
I heard that the church was running an Alpha course for students, and had no idea what it was, but decided to go along anyway in order to meet other students in this church, and I’m so glad I did. I knew no one when I first went, but the people I met at Alpha are now like family and have played a massive part in my faith. Watching how they lived as Christians at university and how much love they had for one another and for me, even from day one, lead me to want to know where this love was coming from and what made them so irresistible that I just wanted to spend all my time with these students, listening to what they had to say.
It took a further 7 months and another Alpha course before I finally found my answer, and found Jesus for myself.
It was October of second year at university, and this same church I’d been attending since first year had their monthly prayer meeting. It started out as any other Sunday night in church, but it ended quite differently, namely because I was on the floor in floods of tears, completely overcome with the love of God. It was the first time that I realised that when I pray, there is actually someone there listening. That night I met Jesus face to face, I felt His presence and I knew that I would walk out of that place different.
Since then, there’s really been no stopping me. I attended a third Alpha course, this time to lead, I’m now leading a Student Community alongside two other very wonderful students, where we run an outreach at the nightclub across the road from our church, wanting to demonstrate God’s love to students on nights out. More and more God is calling me to reach other students, to be an example of His love here in my university, and live everyday as His ambassador, that other students will want to know where this love comes from, just as I did when I saw other students passionately following Jesus right at the beginning of my time at university.
This is the story of Healey, a student I met on the road in Edinburgh when I was working with the church Central. This is why we do what we do. Join us by giving here.