Welcoming the Flood

by Brian Leung

The end of February and the first days of March marked the extravagant, overwhelming fiesta that is Sydney University’s Orientation Week. For three days, students flooded onto the campus to be greeted by hundreds of stalls offering lollies and pens and noodles and snow-cones and t-shirts, eager to sign students up to the many clubs and societies operating on campus.

The Kendo club were out dressed in their training uniforms. The Judo club were doing demonstrations—they even taught me how to do a throw! The corporate stalls ran competitions and offered to draw caricature portraits and gave away razors and shampoo to promote their brands amongst the thousands of new students.

For its part, the EU roamed the campus in green t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the Evangelical Union on the front, and “Jesus is Lord” on the back. Students made and gave away hundreds of free Nutella doughnuts and milkshakes as a way of starting conversations to invite newcomers to consider reading the Bible with the EU.

The EU’s welcoming efforts didn’t stop in O-Week, however. In week 1, EUers set up eight “welcome spaces” and ran free barbecues each day to keep making new contacts and to maintain a public presence on campus—as well as being a friendly face for new students who might need help getting around the campus.

The result of these efforts? Across the union, we have made contact with over 600 newcomers this year! That is a huge number of names to follow up, and EUers have been diligently giving each one a personal phone call to help them get involved at a Public Meeting or a small group Bible study. Would you pray for staff and students as they follow up these new contacts, and pray that many of the newcomers would read the Bible with the EU?

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