Joel Clarke – Relay Update
Joel Clarke – Relay Update

Hello everyone!
I’m aware it’s been a while since my last one, but I’ve been really busy! On the other hand, it means its clearer whether my previous prayer requests have been answered or not. And boy have they been answered!

Our Freshers events were very well attended, with even events like our coastal walk and open mic night surprising us with just how attended they were. The open mic-­night totally filled the whole of Costa! Furthermore, despite my cynicism based on previous years where a significant number of students appear to spontaneously combust after a week or two, these Fresehers still seem really eager to get stuck in with the CU and remarkably resilient to our inherent weirdness.

Our weekly main meetings have frequently attracted audiences of about 50 (significantly more then the 20-­30 we have come to expect) and have needed the room partition to be taken down to create more space! In addition, several of them have come to our prayer breakfasts at 7.30 in the morning already (for comparison, it took me until Easter of first year to bother doing that!).

A few weeks ago, we had an event concerning sexism and the Bible and we invited the feminism society, some of whom apparently turned up. I also spoke to a student who grew up in a Christian household but has recently began to doubt through long period of suffering seemingly alone. Fortunately, she is still curious and comes to a fair few CU events. We also have a Tea and Toast next week for Halloween where we offer the slightly intoxicated students coming out of the Student Union evening parties refreshments. It’s a reminder of the sort of people we have the potential to reach on campus;; the curious, the cynical and those who desperately want Jesus to be true. Praying for them therefore and that we continue to be effective in our outreach and faithfully spreading the gospel would be much appreciated.

Weekend Away
We had our annual weekend away last weekend. It’s only about 15 minutes from Falmouth but feels like the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the gorgeous Cornish countryside. The weather was superb meaning we could have a lovely walk too. It was a really great time to get to know people better, particularly the Freshers and to relax-­ to think that that counts towards my hours! I was asked to do an hour seminar on prayer, something I was slightly hesitant about, having never done Christian public speaking that wasn’t my testimony or speaking on a set bible passage. Though I’m still not entirely convinced about it, feedback was very positive so that’s something. Someone even said that it really challenged their prayer life yet actually give them practical advice on how to improve it. Seeings as the two books I ripped off were trying to do exactly that, it’s a relief I didn’t dilute them! Though I was not aware of it at the time, we actually had a student deciding to definitively give her life to Jesus this weekend, which is absolutely amazing! (I’ll call her ‘Barbara’ but for privacy reasons, it isn’t really). It’s so amazing to see God working all around us!

Relay Life
Of course, Relay is only partially about supporting the work of the CU, so what about me personally? Well, seeings as I am very fond of me, I’m glad you asked… I am still absolutely loving it! The theology track has been amazing so far, focusing on the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity to my Christian life. In particular, learning about how the love that exists eternally between Father, Son and Holy Spirit means that we have a God who truly loves us rather than a distant or dictatorial one (something which single-­person gods must effectively be) has been revelational. That we can experience the love that the Father has for Jesus (John 17v26) and be adopted as Children of God is ridiculously wonderful. The next section is on the Word, so let’s hope that’s just as good! I’m also meeting up with a few people 1-­1 and doing a Colossians Bible study with them (one of them starting today), and I’m really enjoying getting to know people through it and examining just how amazing Jesus is (try reading Col. 1v15-­23 without going ‘wow’, I dare you).

I’ve also been helping leading small groups each week, and have organised another Lad’s film night for next week (where we eat together, watch a film and then discuss it), the idea being that by understanding our culture’s hopes, ideals, fears etc. where can become better at understanding people when trying to make the gospel attractive. Once again, I have been exceedingly busy, but have thoroughly enjoyed and have seen God moving both in me and the CU. Long may it continue!

Prayer Requests
I have got so much to thank God for this month, both in terms of CU and my personal life. I have also exceeded my financial target by an excessive amount, so a huge thanks to everyone for that, I am so grateful. No one give me any more, unless you want to effectively finance a trip to the Bahamas… Of course, support through prayer is just as equally valuable and appreciated and beyond all the thanksgiving there are still things we can pray for: CU-­ That the freshers continue to get stuck in and that we can be effective in our missional outreach (we actually have a free meal tonight on ‘True Joy and Freedom’ so pray that that will go well and be pertinent for all those who attend). Also, for Barbara that she doesn’t become lukewarm in her faith and continues to meet with the real loving God. Me-­ that I continue to love Relay and that God will continue to inspire me and fill me with confidence when doing scary things (like speaking/teaching, personal evangelism etc.).

Our Coastal Walk during Freshers Week. It was surreal to see them all pouring onto the beach! I’m the one awkwardly standing by themselves. Or staring thoughtfully out to sea. Yes, let’s say that

 

 

Those who attended our Weekend Away. I’m here too. Why not try a game of ‘Where’s Wally