Bringing “momentous news for all of life” to campuses in Australia.

What does the God who has rescued us through Jesus now ask of us? What can we realistically expect as we follow Jesus, both now and in the future? Should we expect to influence the world, or prepare ourselves to be crushed by it?

These are just some of the questions presented to 1,800 students as they gathered in Canberra from 2-6 December 2017 for the annual AFES Australia National Training Event (NTE). The theme of this year’s event was “the gospel-shaped life: momentous news for all of life.”

We asked Ryan Gregory, a student at the University of Wollongong, to tell us about his first experience of NTE.

Sharing our challenges

As we gathered from across Australia and further afield, it was great to be reminded of our union with Christ; a union that includes believers from all nations and all history!

AFES groups, and Christians more generally, are facing increased opposition from university administration and from other students, linked to wider societal change and increased secularisation. It was encouraging to meet with students from other universities, and to hear of the challenges and opportunities they are facing, and to learn from one another. It was also encouraging to hear testimonies of AFES groups turning to God in prayer as they faced specific challenges, and praising God as they see him at work in lives on campus.

I attended a session run by a couple of students from a challenging context in Eurasia, where it is illegal to evangelize outside of a registered church. Despite these restrictions, they were able to share testimonies of people coming to Jesus. Hearing from our brothers and sisters in Eurasia helped put our own challenges in context.

Practical mission

At the end of the conference, many AFES groups participated in mission trips, partnering with local churches and helping them with outreach events. As part of our mission trip, we visited a nursing home, ran a breakfast barbecue for high school students, collected food donations for distribution, and invited people to Christmas events. This provided an excellent opportunity to immediately put into practice much of what we had been learning in the previous five days.

Jesus continues to transform lives

NTE provided a vital reminder that God continues to reveal himself through scripture, and through his living son, Jesus Christ. He is the one who transforms us, to make us more like him. I’ve been challenged to rely on God more deeply; in my prayer life, in how I plan my future, and in my desire to share the gospel with others. I have been challenged to pray more as an expression of my reliance on God.

NTE was an incredible opportunity to learn from God’s word, in fellowship with God’s people. Pray that God would continue to work in the lives of the students who attended, and that they would boldly proclaim the gospel to their friends, family, and class mates.

Thanks for praying with us!

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