June/July 2014 - Vol. 74.

"Doing It Together" 
Pharos Leuven a University Christian Student Community on the Move
by Daniel “SPOK” Spokoinyi

This past university semester was really filled with
a lot of zeal and initiative, ownership and love among the members of the Pharos university student community here in Leuven, Belgium. ‘Doing it together’was our motto this past school term, and it worked well.

After the ceremony for Rembert and Gerlindes’ wedding we gathered together for a Lord’s Day celebration and meal

The semester kicked off with the Kairos Weekend in London, which brought student mission workers together from various university outreaches in Europe. And we also joined in the wedding celebration of Rembert and Gerlinde, two members of Pharos. Both events gave us a real boost at the beginning of the semester. 

Many students who attended the Kairos European Weekend, made decisions to step out in faith, with courage, and boldness to allow God to work through them in mission. 

The first 5 weeks of term we ran our WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) course, a series on the basic message of the Gospel: ‘Who is God?’, ‘Who is Jesus?’, ‘Why did he die?’ and ‘How can we follow him?’ 

What made the course so special? We had absolutely
fantastic speakers with a wide range of backgrounds: a seminarian (S. Bosch), a professor (J.F. Collet), a consultant (J. Geleyn), teachers (K. Vandenberghe & M. Baumers) and some business people participating in our weekend as well (L. Vanraes & T. Laureys). They brought a wide range of experiences and insights, and a very unified message about our Christian faith and mission as disciples of Christ. We  sensed that students were ready to take further step in serving and growing as community of students. 

Pharos BBQ event May 2014

Our common meals and the other activities (prayer & social times, men’s & women’s events) made each evening unique and rich. Overall, I think we really grew together as a group, gained some new insights and were able to build a stronger foundation to open our hearts even more to the Lord.

For example, Pharos sponsored an open evening discussion on ‘Buddhism & Christianity.’ We invited a professor and a priest from the University of Leuven to address the topic. We had some fruitful discussion about how to dialogue between religions, while building on our own Christian foundation as followers of Christ, or as Fr. Peter calls us the ‘Jesus Boys.’

We have had some great social times and fun together as well. But I think the greatest blessing in Pharos has been our unity together as an ecumenical group. I mean, can you be anymore heterogeneous as a group with students coming from more than 10 different cultures and languages, Christians from all kinds of church backgrounds, including Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical and Baptist, home church and some non-churchgoers and non-Christians mixed in as well? But even with all this diversity, the Lord Jesus is what truly unites in Pharos. 

During our Pharos weekend retreat, we were all filled with the same Spirit. I believe that Holy Spirit is truly helping us to welcome the resurrected Christ into our midst and continue growing together as a group. And I am convinced that the Lord has much more for us in the future as well. Praise the Lord. I love Pharos and I love that we are all different, but still one in Christ. Amen!

Daniel Spokoinyi is Mission Leader for Pharos and a Master student in Work and Organisational Psychology at the University of Leuven, Belgium
Also see > What Pharos has done for me, by Maarten Baumers and Georgie Burrows
If you would to see more of what Pharos has done this year, check out our slideshow

Pharos is also looking for people to study abroad in Leuven and join us for our mission. Here is a video telling you more about it > Study Abroad and Serve

Reflection on Holy Spirit Weekend

by Corneel Vander Plaetse
Medical Student

The Pharos weekend in Bonheiden had promised to be nothing less than amazing (like every Pharos event, according to Spok) so I figured I would join in and see what it was all about.

The theme of the weekend was the Holy Spirit and we had great talks by Luc Vanraes and Tony Laureys, as well as a prayer evening. I  arrived without any big expectations, but as the weekend progressed I realised what an awesome experience it is to spend a few days together learning more about and sharing in the Holy Spirit. 

Perhaps even more importantly, I was able to take a step back from my otherwise busy life in Leuven and just be away from it all - taking time to actually listen to God and see what he has in store for us. Those moments, where you can truly feel that the Holy Spirit is working around you, are really so special. I remember feeling a deep, inner peace that weekend. How big do our doubts and worries really look when you compare them to His power?

Throughout the weekend we had opportunities to share our experiences and thoughts with others and since we were such a diverse group, coming from all sorts  of backgrounds and denominations, that was really interesting to me. The works of the Holy Spirit are really diverse as we learned from Luc and Tony and then through group discussions.

We also had a chance to talk on a one-to-one basis during the Emmaus walks which was a good chance for us all to share some more personal thoughts, beliefs, doubts and so on.

And of course we had heaps of fun being in such a beautiful place next to a castle and just spending time together. I’m especially thankful for the sisters at Bonheiden for having us and of course the Pharos team and everyone who participated - it was a more-than-amazing experience to grow together with you all in Christ! 

Mission of Pharos Leuven

Pharos is an ecumenical international Christian student community in Leuven, Belgium. 

Our mission is to expose students to the Christian faith and help them grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, and share the good news of the Gospel with others. We actively seek to further our knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith through Christian teaching, Bible study, and group discussion. Through these different ways, formation leads to a strengthening and revival of our faith.

Pharos is a community of students who support a shared series of values and ideals. We want to be brothers and sisters whose relationships are characterised by service, love and respect. We invite other students into this community life.

We believe that God has given us a mission which goes beyond ourselves. We believe He has called us to be a Christian witness to other people We actively want to spread the gospel through talking to students on campus about our faith and inviting them to our events.

Pharos contributes to the work of Christian unity by forming a student community across the different Christian churches and denominations (Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Anglican, Orthodox,…). In our formation and evangelism we focus on what all Christians have in common, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed.



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