of Life in University Christian Outreach
in Faith and Brotherhood
by Ryan Corr
I grew up in West Belfast, Northern Ireland and
got involved in Youth Initiatives
(YI), a cross-community youth work organisation that's very active in Belfast
and Northern Ireland. Through YI, I got connected to University
Christian Outreach (UCO) in Belfast two years ago and started attending
UCO meetings regularly. I also took part in a UCO small group. I'd like
to share a bit about my experience in the small group this past year and
how it helped me grow in my faith and become a better person.
There's 5 of us in the small group - Steve, Gavin,
Noel, myself, and Andy who leads the group. We regularly meet every
week. My experience of the small group has been that it's a safe place
where I can comfortably talk about anything with the other guys without
being judged by them. I feel that I am understood and that the other guys
are there to help me grow, especially by through giving me advice
and input. One of the things that has helped a lot is that it's just men
in the group rather than a mixed group, which means we can relate more
naturally as brothers to one another. It also makes it easier to
be open with each other as brothers. Hearing others share and open up deep
areas of their lives also encourages me to do the same in turn. Many times
several of us would be passing through similar experiences and knowing
that we are all together in the same boat is a big support.
been in quite a few small groups in YI and UCO, but I felt this year's
small group was one I have benefited from the most. I had a strong experience
of Godís presence with me during a trip with YI to Romania last summer.
It was there that I decided to give my life more fully to the Lord.
But when I came back from the trip, I realized that this decision was going
to be challenged every day and I needed regular follow up to keep going.
Andy, my small group leader, did a very good job helping me, first of all
through pushing each of the guys to be faithful in coming to the small
group meetings. There were many times I wouldn't have come if not for his
encouragement. And I always left the small group meetings enriched. Andy
is also good at challenging us in a way that incites change for the better.
He's the first man in my life that I experienced as wanting to know all
the challenges and difficulties I pass through and help me get past them
and improve my character.
Looking back this past year, I clearly see that
I have built deep relationships of brotherhood with the guys in my small
group. I barely knew Steve and was good friends with Gavin and Noel, but
now we're all brothers striving forward shoulder to shoulder. I thank God
for the blessing the small group has been for me throughout this year and
for the gift of brotherhood and support that comes from it.