Is it a rule that Christians must close their eyes when they pray?
Why is there so much killing in the Old Testament?
These were among the questions that came up during Jesus Week at the University of Auckland in September. The TSCF groups worked together with a couple of other Christian groups on campus to put on a mission week focused on introducing people to Jesus.
Each day they set up a stand to give away hot chocolates with the aim of engaging students who were walking past in conversation about the gospel. This was the highlight. Many students enjoyed the freebie and moved on, but some hung around to chat, curious about our motivation or interested in matters of life and faith.
We invited everyone to a free dinner on Friday night, with a talk on “Who needs Jesus?” A couple of students shared their testimonies and invited students to ask questions. It was there I met “Jenny,” who had seen an advertisement for the event in chalk on the footpath. She’s here from China for a year and has many questions about Christianity. It’s been a joy to meet up and answer some of those questions, to see her enjoy coming to church even though there’s so much she doesn’t understand, and to give her a bilingual Bible so she can read about God in her heart language.
Please pray for Jenny and others like her who heard the gospel during Jesus Week, that they would continue to seek answers and that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes to the truth and hope found in Jesus.
There are similar stories of students across Auckland bringing the gospel into conversations with friends—sometimes just a snippet before the conversation moves on, sometimes a longer discussion.
A highlight of the year has been the establishment of groups at all three campuses of Auckland University of Technology, little communities of Christian students encouraging one another to live out their faith at uni. We’re also encouraged to have Candy Grice raising support to work with us three days a week from next year, and two pastors volunteering a few hours a week each to work as associate staff with their local groups. With almost half of NZ’s university students, we have a massive mission field and would appreciate prayer for more staff to join the team in Auckland.
– Robyn Drake, Auckland Team Leader
Auckland by numbers
- 120,000 tertiary students
- 6 universities and polytechs
- 14 campuses
- 3 full-time staff
- 7 associate (volunteer) staff part-time
- 12 student groups across 7 campuses
- 2 international student ministries
- 1 graduate group
Caleb Baptista (left), a first year computer science student and a leader at Auckland Christian Union (formerly EU), shared his experience:
“It was the first opportunity that I’ve had to evangelise strangers. I remember that my first day helping out was particularly daunting as I was unsure how to start conversations about Christianity despite being eager to do so. I also worried about being unable to answer questions and failing to convey the message of the gospel effectively. However, with practice, persistence and prayer, the experience and opportunity to share the gospel with fellow students became more and more enjoyable as my confidence grew with each conversation. Despite the occasional dismissal from students, the ability to share with those who did stop made our endeavours over Jesus Week very worthwhile.”