Stories

It's clear to see how God is working

Date posted: 17/11/17

Hannah Smith

 

Welcome to the Internship blog. Each month a different Intern will be sharing something of what they’re up to where God has placed them. November’s entry sees Bristol-based Ultimate Frisbee player Hannah Smith pick up the baton...

As part of my role with Christians in Sport this year, I have the privilege of supporting Christian students who play sport at various universities in the South West. These are Bath, Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter and Birmingham.

Most weeks I’ll head to a different university, set up shop in a campus café for the day, and meet up with Christian sportswomen who are members of that university’s group. These one-to-one chats are times of real encouragement as we read God’s word together, pray for their teammates and pray for their own walk of faith.

Hannah SmithDespite early starts (I’m often at the university for their group meeting at 7.30am) university visits are hugely encouraging and it’s clear to see how God is working in many Christian sports players to bring Himself glory. For example, there are three students from the Bath University Christians in Sport group who have become Christians in the last year – praise God! I’ve particularly appreciated the last couple of weeks, as I am now visiting universities for a second time and so can enjoy catching up with the girls about how term has been going since we last met.

Events are another key aspect of the university work. Dodgeball tournaments, sports quizzes and dialogue dinners provide a great opportunity for students to invite their teammates along to hear about Jesus whilst enjoying a top evening together. In the last few weeks both Bristol and Birmingham universities have hosted a Sports Quiz. I was pretty daunted by the idea of hosting a Sports Quiz when I first started the Internship but after some encouragement from my co-host Mike and a pep-talk to myself, I really enjoyed my first quiz in Bristol! There was a terrific atmosphere at both with many non-Christians attending and hearing the gospel as a result.

Hannah SmithRecently, I, along with fellow Interns Jack and Rob, was down in Exeter for a dodgeball tournament. Here there were teams from a wide range of sports clubs and around 30 or so non-Christian sports players were able to hear a short talk about Jesus. My hope and prayer is that these events will have served as catalysts for good conversations about the Christian faith.

Excitingly, a full week of events is on the horizon at Bath University. Running from the 20th to 24th November, it will include daily lunchtime talks as well as evening events run by Christians in Sport. I am particularly excited for the sports quiz on the Monday night, as well as testimonies from double-Olympic rowing medallist Debbie Flood and former professional footballer, Linvoy Primus.  

I’m looking forward to spending the week in Bath myself! I’ll have the chance to meet the friends and teammates of the Bath Christian students not only through the events, but also by staying at one of their houses! During the week I’ll be giving out flyers and setting up for the events, whilst also supporting one or two Dialogue Dinners. These dinners offer a great opportunity for students to discuss Christianity over some food with teammates.

I also plan to jump in one of the Ultimate Frisbee club’s midweek training sessions after encouragement to do so from their mixed team captain and Christians in Sport group leader, Charlie. As well as a fun chance for me to train, we hope that this will prompt questions about why I am there and what we both believe. As a result we hope to invite more of Charlie’s teammates along to the events and to look into the good news of Jesus for themselves!

Hannah Smith

 

Visiting the Bath University Christians in Sport Group. I'm at the far right on the back row.

I won’t be alone in visiting the university - a number of Christians in Sport staff members and Interns will head down to Bath to help run the events and support Christian sports students in hosting dialogue dinners.

Please join me in praying for this upcoming week at Bath University. Please pray that God would be powerfully at work through it and that lives would be changed as a result. Also pray for those Christians in Sport at Bath, that they would be bold in inviting teammates and in following up with them after the talks.

internship logo

 

Applications are now open for the 2018-19 Internship. Click here for more information.

 

 

 


 

Internship

 

Welcome to our new Internship blog. Each month a different Intern will be sharing something of what they’re up to where God has placed them. October’s entry sees Vusa Mtunzi get the ball rolling...

Change is a regular feature of all our lives. Whether it's the change in the weather, a change in occupation, or moving house, change always requires an element of adjustment. I have certainly had to adjust since moving out to Jersey, an island 19 miles off the French coast!

One significant challenge for me has been joining a new rugby team – Jersey Athletic. Not only is it predominantly made up of locals, but by competing in the Zoo Sports Shield Division 1, Athletic represent a notable step up in playing standard from my previous rugby.

The Internship blogTo be honest, I had several concerns before joining: “Will they think I'm crazy because I'm a Christian?”, “I am quite small in size, will they rate me as a player?”, “Will I fit in well into a local team?”.

Consequently, at my first training session, I put a sizeable amount of pressure on myself to perform. This brought with it the danger of putting my identity in my sporting ability, not in Christ. Yet, despite all my concerns and fears, I made it into the Saturday squad after one training session.

Jersey being an island means we have to fly to every away game (another adjustment!). My first match was against Blackheath in South East London. So, after just one week of Jersey life, I found myself back in London. I had to bite the bullet with the 6am meet at the airport, but if anything, that provided more of a desire to return home with a win. Sadly, we lost 27-14 and to add insult to injury, our bus back to Gatwick Airport broke down.

Prior to Saturday, I had prayed for opportunities to get to know my teammates better and to rekindle the camaraderie I was so used to in rugby. The broken down bus provided such opportunities.

Soon after returning to the clubhouse, I had some of my teammates asking what I was doing on the island, what Christians in Sport was all about and grilling me about my faith. It was great. I was reminded of Romans 8 v 28 (NIV) – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

God can create great situations out of anything, even a broken down bus. Instead of thinking about my own convenience, there were people who needed to hear about Jesus. God loved them as well.

The Internship blog"Audience of One", a favourite motto of Christians in Sport, has been very helpful since joining Jersey Athletic. Being in an environment where players are either on the cusp of playing Championship rugby, or have played rugby to a high level in the past does up your game. Yet, remembering that ultimately I should play for God is so important. It’s only His opinion that really matters. Whether we win or lose, I look to represent God in my attitude on and off the pitch.

Of course, my natural competitiveness means this is often easier said than done, but I thank Jesus for His sacrifice and for wiping the slate clean for me every single time I step out of line - "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10 v 17 NIV).

As relationships with my teammates and the coaching staff begin to develop, my prayer for the coming year is for God to create opportunities for me to share my faith and show them what I'm about. I pray that I will seek God through both the good and bad times and consciously look to serve him through the way I train, as well as the way I play.

There are several lads who have either expressed contempt at discussing Christianity or directly asked questions about my faith. I do pray for more opportunities to share my faith with them moving forward.

There is a long season ahead and I will continue to feel apprehensive, experience resistance to the gospel and have days to forget. But for as long as I know the Lord Jesus Christ, all this will be something that I can overcome in His strength.

Internship 2017-18

 

Further reading: The Internship: breaking new ground


back pages - Spring 2016
 

Would you like to be kept up to date with all our latest news and resources? Sign up here to receive our printed or online communications.