By Emily Maples

Reaching Out to Curious Flatmates

Launch was really helpful about changing my perspective on study abroad. Instead of just going into it thinking it was a time for self-discovery and exploring new cultures and traveling, it changed my mindset to realize that I had the opportunity to reach out to the students around me: other study abroaders who aren’t Christians and the locals at my university who maybe don’t know God, but are curious and have questions.

The Launch retreat equipped me with the skills and resources to start a Bible study through my university’s Christian Union (the IFES movement in the United Kingdom). It also inspired me to get into discussions with my flatmates who didn’t know God at all, to be there for them when they had questions, and be a resource to them to let them explore their curiosity.

I had one flatmate who had a lot of questions about God, so I asked him if he would be interested in reading the Bible for the first time. To my surprise, he said yes. It was so exciting. So, I said, “Yes, let’s do this tomorrow and we can meet in our flat kitchen.”

So we started going through the book of John starting with the woman at the well in John 4. And as we started to open our Bibles, two of our flatmates came in and said, “What are you doing?” I told them what was going on and I invited them to join us, and they said yes too, which was the biggest surprise. So four of us ended up doing a Bible study in my little London flat.

At the beginning of the semester, I never would have thought any of my flatmates would be open to it, but God works in such a cool way. It all went back to InterVarsity Study Abroad encouraging me, and giving me the skills and courage to actually talk to my flatmates about something that might be hard. But then I got to see my flatmates get to know God for the first time.