Living in halls can be great. Living in halls can be lonely.
You are surrounded by strangers you didn’t choose to live with and you’re far away from home. For many students, university holidays mean travelling home to familiar surroundings, a break from cheesy pasta and a comfortable bed. Others choose to stay behind. Whether its to pump out extra hours in the library or because they don’t have much of a home to return to, these break times can increase the sense of isolation and loneliness in halls for those who remain.
I had a dream at the beginning of the Easter Holidays of some of our freshers knocking on doors in one particular block and inviting anyone who was still around to have a BBQ. As the days passed this idea of reaching out to those alone over the Easter Holidays grew, so I contacted a some of our students who were around and asked if they’d be up for inviting their neighbours to a BBQ.
I rang up the University and they told us that fire regulations wouldn’t allow for us to have a BBQ in the courtyard of the halls. I told the students and their creative juices exploded. The next thing I knew, a group of girls rang me to say they were going door to door eating slices of pizza with any residents that were around! They just cracked on and did it.
Many of those they met were really lonely and no one was upset or resentful that someone was looking out for them.
One girl in particular said that the atmosphere in her flat was so oppressive that she never knew if her flatmates were in or not and that it was relieving to have contact with someone. The girls who were chatting to her are planning on inviting her round for dinner one night soon.
This wasn’t a big evangelistic event, it was a small group of girls catching a piece of God’s heart for the lonely and isolated and deciding to be good neighbours to the people they lived with. They went searching for those who desired to be loved and they found it in abundance.
They now have a foothold for change in their halls of residence.
- How might your students have a think about the people in the flat down the hall or the room upstairs?
- How can the way they interact reflect the heart of God?
- What can they say or do which marks them as someone radically different and relentlessly loving?