Our final train for Manchester chugs out of the station at 7 a.m. on July 17. Sunday is our last day being on the SLP and living in Sheffield. Steve Discher gave me an “emotions wheel” during a Discipleship Group the other night. The wheel looks quite silly, but is a useful resource. It is a pie chart that lists over fifty words that can describe how I am feeling. As I think about leaving the U.K. and traveling back to the states, I feel sad, astonished, excited and fulfilled for various reasons. I feel my teammates could definitely add to this list! (I also felt "helped" after I received this pie-wheel. Thanks Dish!) Please pray for our team’s return training, processing culture shock, and for a safe journey back home. (Return training is one of the trainings Campus Outreach does for summer project students.) C.O.M. summer projects are nuanced in ways that stimulate vision for the college campus and global outreach. The projects are also designed to train students for their city, workplace, and current context they find themselves in. Vision casting and training are impossible without God’s providence in raising up godly men and women who labor within this particular university ministry. With that said, our CCP team is grateful to have been a part of “year zero” of CO Sheffield, which has rebranded itself into “TCH Student Ministry Team.”
I feel thankful for student workers like Andrew and Sara, Steve and Lindsay, Tim and Cassie and others who plan and lead us through Christ-centered talks and breakout sessions on different topics. From the trainings, our team is learning how to navigate through the gospel story of the Bible, and apply it to life situations using our gospel-renewed lenses. Alli Wood’s favorite training on the STP and SLP has always been "Life Training" because it has helped her read the scriptures and uncover biblical ethics on topics like career and calling. “The Bible gives humanity hope for work. People acknowledge both how deeply frustrating and difficult work can be and how encouraging the spiritual hope of the Gospel must be if they are going to face the challenge of pursuing careers in this world.” The talks are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as our SLP has witnessed the Knights, Dischers and Devanes pour themselves out for us on a deep, relational level. (I also want to include the relational ministry of Nat, Josh and Ben as well!) Jake Wood shared with me how the student workers bring a wealth of wisdom to the table. “I think this SLP is led by some seasoned university workers. The elders at The Crowded House respect the student team, are happy to have them, and the student team sets a good example for how to culturally interact.” I think the student workers genuinely want to know how we are really doing physically, emotionally and spiritually during our highs and lows of the SLP. My teammates and I agree the student workers help strengthen our intimacy with God by spending time in the word and praying with each of us. The SLP has been a place to share the Gospel with the lost and be reminded again and again of what the Gospel is to those found in Christ. Therefore, I have felt sharpened and humbled by the SLP leaders who see sin in my life and are not complacent in letting it fester in the dark. I feel incredibly cared for having advocates like Tim and Andrew in my life. These student workers call me out by helping me drag sin into the light, and they help me fight it by God’s grace.
This is authentic discipleship – That a group of U.S.-Americans would uproot themselves and be planted in the U.K. to invest their lives into a specific sphere of people (university students), who in turn would:
- see the depraved state of their ethnocentric lives, as evidenced in current events,
- be burdened by today’s racial violence and national-referendum uncertainties,
- know Jesus Christ is sovereign over all earthly kingdoms, and the gospel message means lasting reconciliation for the world’s ethnic divisions.
We, the SLP and CCP, feel blessed by having older men and women give us counsel for how the Gospel affects every area of life. This is true training.