I can’t count the amount of times this year that someone has asked me what a Relay Worker is or what it is I actually do and to be honest, I’m still not sure I even know now but thankfully, I kept a pretty extensive diary over the time. It’s been a crazy and incredible year and here are some snapshots for the next time you find yourself asking that same question. I’m not saying this is typical of a Relay Worker because every Relay year is different, but this was mine. It’s strange looking back, knowing how much I’ve changed in how I think about hings and go about things, but it’s also been lovely reliving it if just for a little while. So here it is, my first term according to my diary at the time.
“It didn’t take long before I was laughing to the point of tears with my new Relay friends and just loving every minute with them … It was almost like learning the gospel for myself all over again … Everyone was really lovely and not led-a-thousand-bible-studies-and-studied-theology-in-Oxbridge kind of people but just-love-Jesus-and-want-to-spend-a-year-doing-so-more kind of people … I wanted it to last forever just staying here with all these guys, having fun and loving Jesus.
Walking back, I felt like the worst Relay Worker in the world – I hadn’t even made an important meeting on the on the first day … maybe I couldn’t do this after all – I just felt like I couldn’t keep going like this for a year.”
“I am at least starting to feel like a real relay worker at last.”
I realised that there’s just no way I can do this in my own strength so there’s really no point in trying.
I couldn’t help thinking the first talk I give and we have to stop halfway through to give a police report and two members ended up in A&E. Normally the idea of a talk is to open the eyes of the blind – I give a talk and the sighted are momentarily blinded.
I’ve got to think about things I would never normally think about and get excited about opening up the Bible with students but also just reading it for myself. I re-realised how beautiful it is.
I just don’t know what to do, I tried to help but I think I just made things worse. I didn’t know what to say so I suggested we read the Bible together, goodness knows why I didn’t do this earlier. I wasn’t in any way prepared so we just read through the whole of Colossians together and chatted about it, it was really encouraging.
We had 55 at lunchbar on Tuesday; Science and the God of the Gaps, about 80 on Wednesday; Is God just a Delusion? – with 10 signing up to Alpha and 4 ticking that they want to follow Jesus! Praise the Lord! This is the kind of encouragement the CU needs to start off!
I had learnt that it’s not about my own performance because it’s easy to feel like you’re really great when things are going well or that it’s all your fault when things are going badly … the highs are just really high and the lows are just really low. It’s so true – I’m up down and all over the place!
I just don’t seem to be doing anything well at the moment – my life is just a series of awkward events and apology emails.”
“Today I was struck by just how much I get to read the Bible. Having spent a lot of time in different books for Core Study and reading through about 4 of Paul’s letters to find passages for patch day tomorrow – I just love seeing all the connections! And then prepping Impact in Exodus … thinking about how much time I get to spend in all different parts of the Bible in this job – it’s so great.
As amazing as it would be and what a story, I just don’t think that I could go on my own to give a lecture at a Bible college. I don’t even know what the lecture is about!
As I walk over so many things are going through my mind … I just don’t know what is going on at the moment … I’m taking each day as it comes but it seems like each day is throwing something completely new and scary at me.
I was thinking this week how it really is God who carries us through but sometimes or actually often, it is only when you are pushed to your limits you can see that … I won’t be given more than I can handle, just more than I can handle in my own strength.
I absolutely love my 1-1, I can’t express what a joy it is. We were talking about just what it meant for God to sacrifice and the monumental significance of that. How he literally tore himself apart for us, she said she just couldn’t believe he would do that for her after all she’s done. It really is incredible when you really stop and think about it … By the end she was saying that if she gets nothing else out of uni but learns to love God more, she’ll be happy. I was actually just about crying as I was praying at the end. It’s times like this when I remember just why I do this job. This is exactly why I’m a relay worker.
I finished my study response 10 minutes before I had to leave … It was a talk on ‘The Bible: Boring, Irrelevant and Untrue? and ironically, I actually bored myself reading it back.
Utter chaos that’s how I’d describe today … Looking over today I just see God’s grace. This morning we had no food, I spent a large proportion of the today running around campus looking for people – I even lost all of the Capernwray students … we had no desserts and our coordinator is in Tenerife and for a while we weren’t going to have an evening event at all. But how worth it it all was. God has been so faithful all throughout today and I was reminded what a privilege evangelism really is.
The whole of the square was flooded … In the end, I take off my socks and shoes, roll my jeans up to my knees and walk through. I’s SO cold, excruciatingly cold, It really hurts to walk over the pavement and small stones. I can’t feel my feet. When I get in, I have to soak my feet in a bowl of cold water to stop them burning. Coming into the heat, it’s really painful and they’re covered in mud, grit and flood water. Right here is the talk illustration I’ve been praying for.
Getting to see the sheer joy she gets from reading the Bible. Seeing the gospel restoring someone for myself, so visibly even if just for this time together. It’s incredible!”
“My realisation that I actually have no life plans and that at the moment I can’t really imagine doing anything other than relay yet. I was flippantly told I should do staff work then – maybe in the future though, I wouldn’t say it now but I wouldn’t be opposed to it somewhere down the line, I do really love what I’m doing. What I’m really concerned about though is what I’m going to do now.
We went to unload the rest of the van into the CU cupboard and I don’t think we could be less motivated. It is still very, very cold and the snow has turned to rainy drizzle. There is nothing that will make us want to leave the warmth of the van … we just need to trust that 708 people heard the gospel tonight and that God is sovereign, big things could still be happening.
I must be the least conventional, sorted and textbook relay in the region. Most of what I have done has been a result of unfortunate or unforeseen circumstances, not anything I’ve done and have been unprepared and something has nearly always gone wrong. Every week has been completely different and I never know what I’m doing.
I had the most amazing lunch: a Yorkshire pudding wrap. I held a whole Christmas dinner in my hands. Every mouthful was different and beautiful. It was pork, crackling all the way through, a mouthful of stuffing, one mouthful was entirely apple sauce, I felt like I was having an apple crumble with my dinner, it was just great … I’m actually crying, I haven’t laughed quite this much in a long time … This has just been the best day so much fun and such wonderful people, definitely a highlight.
Okay, I am actually ill. I think I left my tonsils back in Manchester somewhere. I feel a little bit like I’m dying.
It’s been challenging and stretching in so many ways and often a lot harder than I expected but I wouldn’t change anything. I have fallen in love with the trinity and feel like I really know God more. I’m also learning how to trust God more with different things and more particularly learning to trust and live by the authority of scripture. I’ve also become so much more acutely aware of my sin. I see it all the time and I’ve found that when I’m most aware of it, it usually takes a good few days before the appreciation of grace sets in but when it does, it’s wonderful.” 🙂