Ryan, a Durham University student, shares his experiences of becoming a Christian at University.
Where I was before Story
I was in a bad place before Story, Durham CU’s mission week. My dad had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and it completely turned my world upside down. I was angry, upset, confused and lonely. So, I tried going out more to try to forget. But I decided it wasn’t for me. I started thinking about Jesus and what was on offer – I was searching for a world view that could help me make sense of this terrible hand that I’d been dealt – but I didn’t talk to any of my Christian friends. They thought I was further from faith than ever before, but all the while I was observing how life-giving their faith was.
What happened at Story
Going to Story I said to myself, ‘I’m really going to give this thing a go. I’m going to investigate this properly. If it’s true and I don’t investigate it then I lose everything. If I decide it’s untrue, it’s a couple of hours of my life.’
‘If it’s true and I don’t investigate it then I lose everything. If I decide it’s untrue, it’s a couple of hours of my life.’
Story changed my life completely. I had got to a place where I didn’t think I had value, so the first talk, ‘If I’m only matter, do I matter?’ really stood out to me. I realised that my identity is grounded in my relationship with Jesus. The second turning point was the evening talk, with Roo Panes. While he was playing, I had the sensation of being told, ‘You’re home.’ At this point, I’d had a change of heart, but my mind was still somewhat resistant.
That changed with the Tuesday lunchbar on the Bible as historical evidence. This convinced me I could trust the Bible. What was stopping me from putting my faith in Jesus then and there? Suffering. I had already tried one world view, which dismissed my pain as something that ‘just happened’. If this was true, then my Dad’s pain was down to random chance and it didn’t matter. But it felt so wrong, and he mattered to me. So I knew then it couldn’t be right. After the talk on suffering I realised that Christianity does exactly the opposite. So, on the Friday, I decided to start living my life for Jesus. I sat in the Story marquee with my friend Jack and for the first time prayed a prayer that meant something.
‘For the first time, I prayed a prayer that meant something.’
I then went to Story Continues (the follow-up course), which was an amazing experience. It brought me further into the family. I will cherish the people I met and the discussions I had there for years to come.
Lots of people played a part in my story. My two housemates, Alice and Fiona, have been there from the very beginning of my walk to faith. I can’t even recall all the times we’ve had conversations about Christian things. Without them I never would have thought of Christianity as something which could be for me; through them I began to see Jesus as relevant to my life. They took me to Story events (as well as CU events in previous years) and each night after Story we discussed the talk. They invited me to their church and now I’m a regular member. They’re helping me to mature spiritually every day, as are all the other friends I’ve made through Story.