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April 2016 UPDATE
Watch Lydia's April Vlog Here
Hello lovely people,
Sorry that I have not written in a while; we have had our Easter break, Word Alive and a mission trip to Serbia. I have much to praise God for as He continuously shows His faithfulness and goodness and surrounds me with His loving family. As we enter the final semester I am excited to see what God will do and how He will use me here in London and further afield.
As we enter into the final semester the students are busy preparing for their exams and end of year projects. It can be a stressful time of year and students sometimes find it hard to fit in 1-1s so please be praying that they would be wise in how they plan and use their time; they would take time out with God; and that I would be able to love them well in my discipleship and encouragements.
Come Dine with 3C
Last semester was so full on that I had to neglect CDW3C so I am hoping to start it up again in this final semester. We looked at the first three studies of Colossians in the autumn term and we have three still left to study. Please pray that the female students and I would be able to find time to dig into Colossians and fellowship over cooking and food and that the girls would use these studies as a model and see that they can put on their own dialogue dinners (sharing the gospel over dinner with friends).
Exec hand over
The CU at Goldsmiths has grown so much over the past year as all the members have mucked in to help with organisation in their mission. We have been truly encouraged to see the change from the start of the year with only the president organising everything to a whole exec of 5 or 6 students eager to help out. Please pray for a smooth transition as they discuss roles for next year and hand over positions.
Word Alive’s strap line is “Serving the Church, Reaching the World”. It is a holiday to resource individuals and churches and so empower them in their mission to their local communities and the wider world and it is such a great opportunity for students to be equipped too. It was amazing to see so many students from not just London but all over the country to take this week out to learn more of their faith and see more of the depths of God. During the week I was stewarding as part of the team which was exhausting but great to be with such a lovely servant hearted bunch. Please pray that everyone who came, both student and non-student, would take time to reflect on the feast that they heard and put into action what they learnt. Thank God for such good teaching and that He is SO deep that we can only scratch the surface of His wonders!
The London relay team has just returned from a mission week in Serbia where we helped and encouraged at the events week in Novi Sad. It was such an incredible week and God’s hand and work was so clear. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see the CU movement in another country. Serbia is a highly Orthodox country and any evangelical work is seen as a cult however so many students were open and willing to chat about our faith. It was a joy to serve next to the Serbian students and see their heart for their campus and country: such humble and servant hearted students!! It also showed me the breadth of the term family as we witnessed the family of God welcome us into their lives. I would highly recommend going on mission in another culture as it opens your eyes to how God is moving worldwide and how He cares for all people in all nations.
The day looked like:
9-12:30 – prayer and breakfast, Michael Otts teaching evangelistic pointers, previous day overview, feedback forms, flyering prep
12:30-2 – flyering and questioners in the centre of campus where lots of amazing conversations were had
2-7 – pack down, lunch with Serbian team, exploring the city
7-8 – set up café for evening talk
8-11:30 – evening talk and conversations
11:30-12 – dinner and home time
Please pray for:
• Connections made with non-Christian students to be strengthened. A lot of connections were made by our London team so please pray that the Serbian students would be able to carry them on.
• The Alpha course that started yesterday.
• Encouragement of these non-Christians to come to the Serbian summer camp (explained below) to hear more about God.
• David who became a Christian two years ago by watching videos on the internet. He is SO on fire for God and brought 3 non-Christian friends along to the evening events (2 of whom signed up for Alpha)
• Natasha who is a new Christian but got really involved in the events week. Pray that she would be able to make Christian friends and get plugged into a church.
Serbia summer team
I will be returning again to partner with the Serbian CU movement, Evandeosko Udruženje Studenata (EUS). We’ll be jointly running a summer camp, teaching English, sharing our cultures and inviting students to meet Jesus in John’s gospel. Last year the team had the privilege of seeing people trust in Jesus for the first time, and others take significant steps forward in their walk with him through the camp. This is an exciting opportunity to further the work of spreading the gospel in Serbia, especially as we already have connections with the student movement there.
Two London staff workers (James Watts and James Bunyan) and I will lead a team of 7/8 students. Our role is to prepare the English classes, encourage and lead the British students on the trip and encourage and help the Serbian students already there. In order to go I have to raise around £800 on top of what I have had to raise for this relay year. If you are financially able to help me in raising this money please do get in contact by email. It will be a joy to partner with you in this work!
Please pray that I would be able to raise this money; that we would be able to recruit a strong team of students to come out with us (interviews are happening this week); and that God would prepare our team for going out.
It is such a privilege to work with and get to know Ash. I have learnt so much from him this past year and am excited to continue learning in the last two months. Please pray for him as he ends his time on staff and seeks to move to Bristol with a view to church planting.
Top left clockwise: my work on the art trail at WA; kids tent snack time at WA;
stewarding at WA; steward puns
Top left clockwise: Some of the team; #Relaysontour; breakfast by the lake on our way home; at the fortress
Top clockwise: flyering in the center of campus; at an evening talk in the cafe; chevapi, the local delicacy; Nik Vujicic giving a motivational talk; our stall in the quad
I had such a blast over Easter and thoroughly enjoyed my time back in Northern Ireland and Dundee celebrating at two weddings and catching up with old friends. I am so thankful to God for providing me with such great Christians in my life. Being part of God’s family is SO GOOD!
I have a joint exhibition coming up in London where I will be showing my elemental woodcuts that I made for my degree show. You are very welcome to visit: it is the ORGANISM exhibition at Espacio Gallery in North London between May 24th-June 5th.
Making most of London
Finally please pray that I would make the most of my last couple of months in London. It is such a vibrant city and I would love to explore more of it and enjoy the galleries, eclectic streets, theatres, restaurants and the general buzz.
Clockwise from top: The Dundee gang together again; fun times with Vicky in Belfast; Mr and Mrs Forbes; table craic at the Dickson's wedding; Tayfield Place reunited
Clockwise from top left: Jamie chilling after a curry; walking with Amy in the Mournes; Mrs McKee's fine cooking; #Relaysontour
27th-28th - Serbia summer team student interviews
5th - Interface
7th - Forum Local
9th - Team Day
12th - CDW3C
16th - Team Day
19th - CDW3C
26th - CDW3C
20th-22nd - Summer team orientation conference
Please join me in giving thanks for:
• The rich teaching at Word Alive and the students that came along
• God working in the Novi Sad events week and all that I learnt there
• Ash’s wisdom and hard work
• Rich time with old friends over Easter break
• My upcoming exhibition
• Being part of God’s family
Please join me in prayer for:
• Wisdom in discipling Charlie, Ffion and Eleasah
• The final three CDW3C studies
• Smooth exec hand over
• Reflecting on the teaching at WA for those who came
• Serbia mission week (prayer points above)
• Raising money for Serbia summer team
• Recruitment for Serbia summer team
• Ash’s next steps
• Making the most of London
Lots of love,
Mid-JANUARY 2016 UPDATE
Next Prayer Letter at the end of January.
Watch Lydia's January Video Blog Here
(Note the January Video Blog needs a password which is: Lydia'slondonletters)
Hello lovely people,
Sorry I have not sent a prayer letter in a while, I will send a more detailed one at the end of January. This is just a quick one to fill you in on mission week next week.
Lots of love,
HE WAS WITH GOD IN THE BEGINNING
DECEMBER PRAYER NEWSLETTER
Watch Lydia's December Video Blog Here
Hello lovely people,
As we approach the Christmas festivities and the new year it is a great time to reflect on what God has been doing in and through our lives and give thanks for His sovereignty, His mighty hand in all that we do and His beautiful love for His people.
There was one day when one of my 1-1s couldn't come so I got to spend more time with another student (Charlie) helping her prep for a talk she was doing on the gospel of Matthew. I have also been able to have a crit with her in her studio which was great to be able to speak into her whole life and not just spiritual matters. I had been praying that I would have the time to hang out with the girls outside of Bible studies and also serve them physically and emotionally and God has opened up time to serve and speak into Charlie's life.
Come Dine with 3C
This month saw the second Come Dine with 3C session. This time we were looking at Christ as supreme and having him before all. It was great to see the girls interacting and really trying to get to grips with the ‘Christ is…’ statements found in the second half of Colossians 1. We had great discussions about what it looks like for us to have all the fullness of God dwell in us and how understanding God's actions helps us explain why Jesus is the only way to God?
Left to right: Come Dine with 3C Thanksgiving style, Getting in the Christmassy spirit
Art Elective – wood engraving class
This month I have used my elective study to pursue different art opportunities. I had great fun learning how to wood engrave at a class run by the St Bride’s Foundation Charity. I also got to meet with multiple artists such as Alistair Gordon, Sarah Adams, Peter Smith, Mychael Barratt and Trevor Price in their studios to chat through their work and talk through how one enters the art world and makes a career in the arts. The conversations were very insightful and let me get a glimpse of what it is to be a professional artist. I am very excited to interact more and get my teeth into the art profession.
Our topic for this month is the fallenness of humanity. This is evidently a very heart wrenching topic but it has been so good to hear and a rebuking that I needed.
I have learnt that the purpose of mortification is seen with the end in mind; with the ultimate end for which God made us - to be like Christ. The whole purpose of redemption is to be recreated in the image of God. Therefore mortification must increasingly shape us into the image of Christ, specifically in love. The study of life is to know what love looks like in the study of Christ.
Secondly mortification is only necessary if I want to have spiritual life. And the struggle with the law itself brings comfort as it is evident that I am born of the Spirit. It has been comforting to hear that in the struggle against the flesh I am immortal, I am armoured with unlimited ammunition and I have access to the secret of the battle. It is clear that this involves painstaking discipline and that I must meditate and memories the word - I must reflect on it and meditate on my own life to see where the word and my life intersect. This is the work of a lifetime!
Finally, I saw the duty of contemplating how God loves me and how mortification works by looking at Jesus himself. How God expresses such love for us through his son as Jesus speaks tenderly to us, he takes us through desert times and he sings because he loves us. And so the flesh will attack our security in God's love for us in our intellect and affections. And so our mortification should not become a 'task' but we should see it in the light of God's love for us.
I have absolutely loved supervision this month. Ash is such a great teacher and discipler and I am learning so much from him. We have such amazing conversations about Ephesians (the book we are studying at the moment) and are really getting our teeth into it. I am very blessed to have such a godly, wise and caring staff worker!
This past Thursday saw our second Interface gathering of the semester where Michael Gough (who runs the design studio based in East London called Sparks) came to speak on ‘The freedom and responsibility of the artist’. We had great conversations about the importance of Christians making art in the secular world and listening/being aware of what is being debated and discussed so that they can respond accordingly in a thoughtful and coherent manner. We also discussed the importance of making art that gives the viewer what they NEED rather than pandering to what they WANT and also the vital fact of Christian artists needing a community to support them in the arts and also the support of the church. The discussion was so rich and I would love to chat with you if you want to hear more of what we discussed.
Biblical Evangelism Conference
Saturday 14th was a great chance for London CUs to have a fun day out together and get equipped to reach out on campus with the gospel. We heard from Jonty Rhodes (church planter in Derby) about the power of the word and the role of the Spirit in Evangelism. There were three tracks to pick from during the day: for those not yet familiar with using Uncover Tasha Rayan helped the students to get ready to invite and read Uncover with friends. For those who wanted to engage with friends questions, Graham Shearer lead an apologetics track to think about engaging the gospel in the world we live in. Finally for those who were feeling brave and up for a challenge, students wrote a talk based on a Biblical passage aimed at unbelieving mates and then received feedback on it. It was really encouraging to see so many students engaging throughout the day and getting excited for mission.
We had two great team days this month. The first was led by none other than the chaplain to the queen: Hugh Palmer, Rector of All Souls Church and Chair of Word Alive. He led us through an overview of Mark’s gospel unfolding the rich truths that lay within its pages. The second day brought Pete Dray, the UCCF Team Leader in the North East. We dug into mission to the new universities by considering the demographics and challenges of newer universities and thinking about contextualisation. Both days enriched our view of the mission we are part of and helped us think through strategies for mission.
Our training day this month was on apologetics: its importance, our use of language in different contexts, and prayer, imagination, reason and community. It was a cracking day and I would love to chat with you if you want to discuss these ideas further.
I have enjoyed some of the spontaneous meals that I have been able to attend too. It can be hard to be spontaneous in London but this month has allowed for that a little more. I also really treasure the breakfast I had with Rachel (another relay worker) where we spent over 3 hours talking about Relay, what we are learning in core study and arts elective, what we are struggling with and enjoying so far and what we would like to work on. It was such a refreshing time and I believe strongly that reflection is a key area of the relay year and I will definitely make time for it in future months!
Clockwise from top left: a taste of London supervisions and meetings; Alex makes wheaten bread and soda bread for training day; care packages; arts elective research
Ceilidh and Ceroc
DANCE DANCE DANCE has been the taste of this month. I have been able to attend Ceroc with my sister twice and twirl the night away at an epic St Andrew’s Day ceilidh put on by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. What such fun!!
Funniest story - After travelling to Sheffield and spending the evening at my brother's church we had walked home and I was just about to step over the threshold of his house for the first time when I stood on a nail and felt the spike go through my shoe and into my foot. There wasn't gushing blood but we decided it was probably best to get it checked out so we got his medic friend (medical students are oh so useful) to drive us to the hospital. It was 11pm at this point. After checking in and giving the needed details we were told 'just to warn you the waiting period is five and a half hours.' Music to my ears! What does one do in a hospital at 11pm for five and a half hours when one has forgotten to bring anything to amuse oneself with? We told my brother's friend she could go home and we commenced the marathon wait. Tick tock...tick tock. The characters that you get in a hospital are definitely some of the quirkiest people you will meet. Six hours later and the beautiful sweet words 'Miss Lydia Hiorns' waltzed out of the doctor’s mouth like honey. We proceeded into the doctor’s room and...wait for it...words like stones fell from the doctors lips: 'well I think we can just wipe this with an antiseptic wipe and you are good to go'. Six hours for a wet wipe remedy. I think the doctor caught on how we were felling and so jabbed me with tetanus to keep the peace. It was 5am when we called for a taxi to take us home. The moral of the story is when you ask God to bless you with quality time to spend with your brother you can expect him to answer positively and literally.
Clockwise from top left: Cooking for friends; Mogs chilling out; my first cycle experience on the manic roads of London
5 – London Relay social
8– London CUs joint carol service with Graham Daniels
9 – Goldsmith Carol Service
10 – Come Dine with 3C
14-16 – Team Days away
18 – Evangelistic talk training
19 – Home for Christmas
4-8 – Relay 2
11-15 – Reading Week
18 – Team Day
23 – Events Week Prayer Brunch
25-29 – Joint Events Week
Please join me in giving thanks for:
Please also join me in prayer for:
AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD
OCTOBER PRAYER NEWSLETTER
Watch Lydia's October Video Blog here
Hello lovely people.
Thank you so much for your prayers for the start of Relay and for fresher’s week...God has truly been at work! I am sorry for the length of this letter! If you wish I have condensed my prayer points in bullet form at the bottom. But I hope that you enjoy reading about what God has been doing this month...
September has been a super exciting month here at Goldsmiths CU. The first CU meeting was so encouraging to see so many freshers’ come along – despite it being fresher’s week! We have had 3 meetings since I last wrote and each time I am encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm of the students to come to know God more deeply and to share this good news with others. Yesterday there were around 20 students which is around double the size of last year. We gave out John’s gospels and this semester are going to be reading through them to train the students up in how to use these seeker studies with their friends.
I have been developing friendships with many of the girls in the CU. In particular I have asked 4 girls (Charlie, Chloe, Eleasah, and Ffion) to study the Bible with me and today I had my first studies with them. For some we are studying Galatians together to see the beauty of the gospel and its importance for us. And for one girl I am studying ‘Dig Deeper’ to help her to handle her Bible well. It was such a blessing to see their desire to learn and I was blessed by the studies too!
Come Dine with 3C
Many of the fresher girls do not know how to cook so I am going to start a group called ‘Come Dine with 3C’ (a wee play on the program ‘Come Dine with me’). I have invited the CU girls to come along to learn a quick, cheap and simple recipe each month to wet their appetite. We will cook the meal together, and then study the book of Colossians over dinner. The 3Cs, if you were wondering, stand for Colossians, Cooking and Communion (fellowship).
This Monday and Tuesday all of the Relays on the arts elective gathered together in Ali Gordon’s flat here in London. Ali and Cully (a good friend from Dundee) set up the arts electives for those who want to pursue the arts in the future to be able to carry on with their work during Relay and to learn what it means to be a Christian working in the arts. We learnt much about the Lordship of Christ over all of creation, we delved into Genesis and looked at how God reveals himself as creator, and we got to delight in each other’s practices and get a glimpse into what we hope to create this coming year. Despite writing my dissertation around this subject it was such a joy to learn new things and see old things afresh and to revel in these truths with fellow artists. I am super excited for what I will create this year!
Team Days and Student workers lunch
The first week saw our first team day where the whole London team come together to delve deeper into God’s word and our London mission field. It was a great time of getting to know one another and getting excited for what God has in store for us in the year to come.
Ash – supervisions
I have been able to get to know my staff worker Ash over the past few weeks. We have decided to study Ephesians together and it has been a joy to start delving into this book last week. I am stoked to be working with Ash and raring to see how God will use us in His ministry in GCU.
Over the past few weeks I have been delving into the tantalising trinity…it is INCREDIBLE! To see how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been in a loving relationship for all eternity and how this love between Father and Son was so deliciously beautiful and outgoing that it outpoured into God’s creation. That is love in action!
During this year we will have training days to learn about specific areas of Christian ministry. Last Thursday saw our first one on Bible handling as we looked at how to read and use our Bibles effectively and the joy that it is to delve into God’s word.
The London Team - Relays and Staff
Speaking of the Trinity
I have had the joy to tell of the truths of the trinity that I have been learning. I have received letters and emails and had face to face chats with philosopher, fellow artist, and fascinated friends. It is a delight to share the God of love with them.
Morphe is a network of artists, musicians, writers, designers and performers across the UK. I enjoyed going to my first meeting, discussing ‘why we do what we do [as artists]?’ and meeting fellow artists around London. I hope to get stuck in and make more connections around London to be able to pursue my art after Relay.
It has been lovely to be able to meet up with old friends from Dundee and Chippenham here in London. I have loved chatting and catching up and hope to be able to continue to meet with old friends to grow in those friendships.
At the beginning of the month I heard the incredible news that a French friend, who I made when on Erasmus in Nantes, has become a Christian! I saw Laetitia seeking for God when I was in France and it is such a joy to hear that she has made a commitment to a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus. I am so blessed to be able to attend her baptism in Nantes and see her declare her decision publically: I haven’t told her I am coming as I want it to be a surprise.
12th – Team Day on Apologetics
13th – Team Day with brunch
15th – London CUs together launch night
17th-19th – going to France for Laetitia’s baptism
21st – Student leader afternoon to train up the student leaders
22nd – First of ‘Come Dine with 3C’ group
23rd-25th – Morphe weekend away
28th – Forum local for training up students
6-8th – GCU weekend away
14th – Uncover and Bible evangelism conference
19th-20th – Team Days
26th – Come Dine with 3C
30th – Training Day apologetics
Please join me in giving thanks for:
Please join me in prayer for:
My continual settling in by making London home and getting stuck in with Grove Chapel
Lots of love,