This week was international students welcome week for Sheffield and the churches of the area. Many of the international students who will be taking courses in the fall arrived this week in order to take English courses to improve their language skills for their upcoming courses. This provided us with a brilliant opportunity to not only meet new international students and invite them to events and help them adjust to life here, but also to introduce them to the gospel and churches that they could attend while living here in Sheffield. A number of the local churches including The Crowded House put on the welcome week; one church held events every night this week including British games, quizzes, food, and even music for international students to become acquainted with the culture. At least someone from our team was able to attend each of these events and we were able to meet and share the gospel with many different students. A Taiwanese student who has already been here for about 8 months came to an event and through that was able to hear the gospel and attended church with us this morning. This was the first time that he had ever attended a church, and his story was just one of the few great relationships which were developed this week and by prayer, might lead to an eternal change in their life.
The second thing to note is that some of the Campus Outreach staff joined us from Minneapolis for this week and have been working alongside us in some of these international events and we have been able to spend some time together as a whole group which has been quite fun. On Tuesday all of us went to a local pub and watched the USA-Belgium game. The team made a heroic effort to soar back after playing poorly throughout most of the match, but ultimately they fell short; our time together was really quite enjoyable anyways. Then on Wednesday we spent the morning together speaking about how the experience here has been, evaluating the church, the campus, the city, and the spiritual climate of this context. We also discussed the possibility of sending future CCP teams here to Sheffield and other opportunities to stay connected to this region in the future. This time was really helpful just to process all that we have seen and learned, and to be able to reflect on the summer. The week then completed with two very fun days spent together: On Thursday we had what was called a Crowded House party where the pastors of The Crowded House walked us through their theology and vision for the Crowded House, and Friday we had a barbecue for the 4th of July and then had a gig in a house with John Mark Nelson, the brother of CO Staff Ann Nelson, look him up on Spotify (that’s a shameless plug…). However, Friday was only the beginning of a busy weekend.
Saturday the CCP team had a group date in the peak district which is a national park that is just outside of Sheffield that is incredibly beautiful. (See picture above.) This was really fun, but was quite tiring because we did a lot of hiking up some pretty steep hills. Then today was the Tour de France which some of us went and watched in person. It is truly remarkable to be able to see an event like that since it is such a feat of endurance and it apparently has the most live spectators of any sporting event in the world.
With just 10 days left in Sheffield before we head back to the states the reality has begun to set in that we only have a short time to meet students and to proclaim the gospel. It is really amazing to reflect on all that we have been able to do and all of the people in Sheffield that our team has been able to point to the Gospel; for that we thank God and you who have helped to make this possible through your support. Please continue to pray for our team in these last days that we would speak with boldness and most importantly pray that God would be glad to make his name great in students’ hearts here so that they might sing his praises into eternity with us gladly proclaiming his lordship.
-Peter Scheerer and Chris Lovdal