This past Tuesday marked the final day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I know they were talking about it in the States, so you can just imagine what it was like to be in London for this event. Saturday thru Tuesday were set aside for the Jubilee and it was a HUGE deal. There were tons of events, crowds, food, and Union Jacks. It was so exciting to be here during such a historic event! We attended a couple of events to join in the celebrations. The church we went to on Sunday had a Jubilee cookout after the service so we got to stay and participate. We then headed to the Regatta (along with about 1,000,000 others) to see the Royals float by. We couldn’t really get close to the river but we got to watch the events unfold on a big screen, which was more than enough for me! 🙂
We went to church at Hillsong that night (we’ve been going to two churches each Sunday in order to get a good feel for the different churches in the city) and sang “God Save the Queen” for the second time in a church service that day. Both churches took time to honor the queen in different ways- she is really adored! We spent Monday in Greenwich, but that night was the big concert at Buckingham Palace so we watched it on TV when we got back. Tuesday we went out after campus time to Trafalgar Square to watch the Queen make her appearance from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on a big screen there. Once we got there, it was so packed that we couldn’t see so we hurried back to the flat to see it our TV instead. It was a really fun four days and we definitely got to witness some true British pride during this big celebration. Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her 60 year reign!
Last week we participated in Project PETE (Post Exam Training and Evangelism) along with the local Student Life students. We met each morning from 9:30-12:00 to study different topics including God’s Story, Our Story, and Others’ Stories. Each day we also received evangelism training using different conversational tools as well as how to share our own story.
In the afternoon, we would split up and spend a couple of hours on different campuses to speak with students. We had so many different conversations last week. One of my favorites was on Wednesday when I was paired up with a staff member (Claudia) and we went to UCL. We met a student there who doesn’t really know what she believes and described herself as “confused and searching.” Claudia asked her some questions about her story, and then asked if she could share her own story. Claudia shared her personal testimony with Eunice, which was really cool for me to be able to watch, and they’re going to meet again in a couple of weeks.
The London team has done this program for the past couple of years and it was great for the project team to be able to participate as well. This week Monday and Tuesday are holidays for the Jubilee, so students won’t be on campus. We went to Greenwich yesterday with some students that we have met, and today is being used to prayer walk on different campuses and for appointments with students. Then only three more days of campus time and we leave London on Sunday! It’s going by so quickly!
One weekly thing that we’re doing on project is inviting the students that we meet over to have dinner with us at our flat. We have it built into our schedule to have this social each Thursday night, so we just had our first one last week.
We don’t have AC in our flat and it has been pretty hot in London for the past week. As a result, when we get back from our time on campus our flat usually feels like an oven. We decided to have the dinner out on the balcony in order to get a little bit of relief. It ended up being a great night! Some of the girls cooked a big spaghetti dinner for everyone. Several students that are involved in student life joined us, as well as a couple of students that we had met during our first few days on campuses (despite still having exams). We’re praying to have even more this week so that students can begin getting plugged into student life now for next term. We all enjoyed getting to know the students who came. I spent a lot of time chatting with a student from China named Irene. It’s really neat to talk to students from so many different countries and hear about each of their (very different) stories and backgrounds. Here are a couple of pictures:
We’re getting ready for our next dinner on Thursday. Please be praying that the students that we have invited will be willing and excited to come hang out. This social is a great way for students to connect with staff and others, whether they are believers or not.
We’ve also been participating in Project PETE (Post Exam Training and Evangelism) this week along with the students who are a part of Student Life. The London staff team, our two project staff, and some students have been teaching sessions on how to do evangelism and how to use different tools to start spiritual conversations. We meet in the morning, and then go out to the campuses after lunch to practice what we’ve been discussing. It has been a very busy week so far, but I’m looking forward to having more time to blog this weekend about Project PETE and our trip to Oxford from last Saturday. Thank you for keeping up with our project and for your continued prayers!
… yes, we went. We were thrilled to get tickets to see the show, Wicked, on Monday night! I’ve been wanting to see this show for a long time, so I was beside myself that we would get to see it in London. Here are some pictures from our fun night!
After the show, I took my camera around asking for everyone’s “face for Wicked.” These are a few that give a good overview of the night:
We’re about to finish our first week of being on campus! Last Friday, Chris split our group into three smaller groups, and each was assigned two campuses to decode. My group went to LSE (and tomorrow we’re decoding a new campus where Student Life does not currently have a presence). Decoding is what Cru calls it when you are getting to know a campus in order to understand the particular needs of the students for ministry purposes. We were trained this week in how to look into four main areas: Geography (layout of campus, hangout areas, etc.), Mission (university’s mission statement, school’s goals), Sociology (demographics), and Spirituality (current world views and openness to exploring new ones). We did this mainly by online researching, walking around campus, and talking with students. On Monday we came up with a survey to use with students to help us get a better feel of the university.
Monday and Tuesday our group was at LSE using the decoding survey. We would split into pairs and approach students, asking them if they had a few minutes to help us out with learning the campus. Lots of students are studying for exams right now so it was quite difficult to figure out which students would be able to chat versus which students were doing last minute cramming before an exam. It wasn’t always easy to find people to talk to, and after spending about 3 hours each day trying to have conversations it got very tiring.
We’ve also been talking about different worldviews this week. We were divided into three different groups (Islam, Chinese, and Postmodernism) and my group is looking into postmodernism. Yesterday we came up with a new survey to use regarding worldview, and the postmodern group went to LSE and a nearby park to speak with students. We were able to have quite a few good conversations in which people were willing to talk about their backgrounds, beliefs, and how they came to their conclusions. There were also a couple of people who were somewhat unsure on what they believed, and we were able to share our perspective on things like “are people innately good or bad?” or “what is the meaning of life?.” It was really neat to have those conversations and see people think through deep things that they said they don’t normally consider very often. We went to University College London to use our worldview survey today and had many similar conversations. Our group definitely collected lots of good information to present to the rest of the team on postmodernism tomorrow!
Agape Student Life (Cru in the US) is currently present on the campuses of King’s College, LSE, and UCL. All three teams will be going out to three new campuses tomorrow with the London staff team to decode potential places to begin new Student Life ministries. It’s really cool to be able to help the London team look for strategic and affective places to continue and expand their ministry here. Here are a couple of new things you can be praying for:
- Unity for the team (no major problems here, but 10 girls in a small area has a good chance of causing tension 🙂 )
- The people that we have talked to this week (most of them are strongly opposed to the idea of God at all)
- To make friends with some students who will be interested in meeting with us for further discussion and conversation
Sorry this was so long, I just wanted to give a clear picture of all that we’ve been up to this week. It has been extremely full and busy, but we’ve still had some time for fun things. We enjoyed a fun outing on Monday night which I’ll post pictures from tomorrow!
My internet is working now so I got a few minutes to post some pictures of our time in the city so far! We also had our first day on campus yesterday so I’m looking forward to updating about that when I get a few minutes.
We made it to London! After leaving from Raleigh on Tuesday to fly to Chicago, meeting my team and spending the night in Chicago, flying out from Chicago at 4:00 and arriving in London at 5:25am (local time), I’m finally getting a chance to update everyone about the trip so far!
Our team is made up of 9 girls and 1 guy (we feel bad for him), as well as two staff from the US. The total of 10 girls is living in a 9-person flat for the duration of the project, so we’re already getting pretty close to each other. Our team leaders are a couple that lead Cru’s (or Student Life in the UK) movement in London, Chris and Monica. Since arriving in London, we have been busy exploring the city, figuring out how to navigate their crazy roads, and familiarizing ourselves with local culture. Besides the touristy stuff, we’ve also been getting to know the rest of the student life team and having vision casting meetings for the project. Today is our day off, so we’re getting a chance to go shopping and visit some museums. Monday will be our first official day on campus so I’m looking forward to writing an update on how next week goes!
I currently don’t have wifi on my laptop in the flat, but there are coffee shops around with internet. Feel free to email me whenever- I’d love to hear from you!
Here are a couple of things you can be praying for:
- Jet lag – we’re mostly past it but some people are still struggling a little bit
- Students that we meet next week – that we will make lots of contacts and begin forming good relationships with them