You know how certain lessons linger in the memory? I recall a sermon just after I moved to the Midlands to work with Christian Unions. I don’t remember the passage, though it could well have been Mark’s Gospel. Instead of trying to recruit us to follow Jesus by describing how amazing Jesus’ teaching was, the preacher simply wanted us to listen to Jesus’ own words and follow him.
Six of us were huddled over a blank canvas. One of us had stayed up late the night before to sketch a basic calendar for the year ahead. Every little box for every day of the year represented an opportunity – an opportunity to do our job and to reach the campus for Christ.
After a few years in northern Italy, we have moved ‘home’ to Sicily. Here I grew up, here my parents laboured. Palermo is the 2018 Italian ‘Capital of Culture’. And what a feast of richness in this city, capital of Sicily, with over 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, defined by many as ‘the most conquered’ of world cities.
Every Tuesday lunchtime at a university in central Bangkok, a small group of students meets together. They study the Bible, share and pray together and talk about how they can live for Christ on their campus. These students are not Thai, instead they come from Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, China and Germany and they use English as they meet. They are part of a growing number of internationals coming to study at Thai universities.
There are approximately 1.6 million university students in Spain. Out of a total population of about 45 million, the universities are a significant mission field in Spain. The politicians, teachers, doctors, social workers, journalists, lawyers and engineers of tomorrow are among these 1.6 million university students.