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Unrestricted

Ben Patterson, 22/02/21

As CUs across the island get ready and run their mission weeks, we caught up with Ben Patterson from Ulster University Coleraine to hear how their week of outreach events went.

Unrestricted

 “We choose the theme ‘Unrestricted’ for our mission week this year for multiple reasons. Firstly, it reflects the heart of the gospel, that God rich in love, grace and mercy would send his son Jesus to die on the cross paying the debt of our sin, enabling us to live unrestricted lives in true freedom. Secondly, it’s deeply relevant to our culture today, as news about Covid restrictions are never off our screens, contrasting that with true freedom from the chains of sin.

“Finally, it encompasses the aim of a Christian Union to know God and make him known. The word ‘unrestricted’ reminds me of the apostle Paul experiencing the scales fall off his eyes when he was saved by Christ, and how this enabled him to truly live and be set free.

“Our mission week ran Monday through Thursday, meeting together every morning at 8am online to pray and reflect on God’s word. This time of prayer and preparation in the mornings was vital for us to have the strength for the events and to remind us of the heart and reason for the week.

“In the afternoons a member of the CU shared their testimony at the online lunch bars, this was a well utilised and great opportunity for members of the CU to invite their friends to hear a personal story of how God has used and changed their lives. In the evenings we had times for students to ask questions, challenge themselves in a Zoom escape room, and have some fun with a Zoom quiz.

“Honestly, doing the events online was tiring, as it proved difficult to make conversation with people dropping in and out. However, I believe that God used this different style to spread his word through the members of the CU personally inviting people to join their breakout room escape room, to do the quiz together.

“God answered prayer during the week in so many ways. We prayed that he would be glorified throughout the week and his grace and love to be declared answered through the speakers at each event. We saw our prayers being answered in how university accommodation flats got. We saw our prayer for logistics and technology smoothness answered with very few hiccups occurring. The Lord answered so many!

“Personally, I learned more about God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and his out working of his plans to glorify himself and use us. I could see this clearly through putting together a subcommittee of CU members to help run the week. Each of them contributed to the events and shaped it into what it became, reflecting God’s perfect plan for the week.

“Our zoom escape room was definitely a highlight for me. I handed over the hosting of the evening to the subcommittee, and instead spent the evening doing admin, sorting the breakout rooms and sending all the material need every time a team got the correct answer to continue the escape. Although a real effort to run, it was great to hear how much people enjoyed it, especially those who had been invited along. What was most encouraging of all was how the conversation before the escape room carried on. Knowing that God’s word reached the ear of unbelievers and helped believers continue conversation with them was the biggest blessing I could ever ask from this week.

“Looking to the future, we are planning on running a celebration evening. We want to reflect on the providence of God and his work during mission week. It will also aim to prepare and equip our CU members with resources and materials that should enable them to continue to share God’s word with their flatmates, classmates, friends and family.”