Arriving in Galway to pursue medicine fulfilled a dream, but nothing had prepared me for what was to come. Having found a new church and CU, both warm and welcoming, I hungered for something more. I wanted literature to fulfil my needs as a Christian in medicine. I found CMF Ireland's Facebook group, and received an invitation to the CMF Irish Conference at Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
I wasn't sure what to think. Will there be godly teaching? What about my pharmacology test next week Tuesday? Prayerfully, I was led to finish studying by Thursday and headed to the conference. I arrived to a warm welcome and much excitement - the latter of which was confusing. As I set down my suitcase I bumped into a Cork student who, as I introduced myself, exclaimed 'you're the one that came from Galway!' What had I walked into? Little did I know that my presence was an answer to the prayers of many people from Cork to Dublin to London, for many years: that a Galway student would attend CMF Irish Conference, and that a CMF group would begin in Galway.
Praise and prayer, Saturday morning as the sun rose over the Irish Sea, was beautiful. Early morning hunger disappeared! This was it: teaching, fellowship, literature, connections, and all the resources that CMF has to offer. I was taken aback at how international the attendees were, literally from around the world studying in Ireland and I got a fresh sense of how global the church really is. Amidst the excitement and joy, I immediately signed up to be a member and agreed to be the contact person for Galway.
On Sunday, though sad that the conference was over, I was spiritually refreshed. I returned to write my test and surprise! I got 100%! 'OK God, what happened? I didn't study all weekend!' I made the right decision to connect, learn and worship. This was my affirmation. Life is not just about studying or marks. It's about trusting God to lead your life.
Over the following weeks, I began to feel resentment; each campus had a CMF group, but not Galway. 'God, why did you put me in a school without a CMF group? You know how much I loved the fellowship and encouragement at the conference.' Resentment pushed me to seek opportunities to transfer to a school with a CMF group. But God does not make mistakes. 'You are where you are for a reason.' 'Is this a joke, God? Who am I? What can I do?' Over the months, God continued to nudge at me: 'CMF Galway needs to happen'.
During the summer, I received an email from a final year student who knew about my vision for a CMF group. She had been very encouraged by weekly prayer meetings in the hospital she was attached to. She saw the benefit for incoming students, and was committed to seeing a CMF group begin. We formed the first committee. Two weeks' later, we started with about six for a weekly Bible study. This grew to 18 before I left Galway. Since then, so many Galway students have benefitted from attending CMF conferences. It's been a long time coming but CMF Galway is here and God is working. Please pray that we continue to grow from strength to strength, spiritually and in number. We praise his holy name! Deo favente (with the favour of God) is emblazoned on the NUI Galway coat of arms. They couldn't have chosen a better motto.But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Josh Chan is a NUI Galway graduate & has moved to Canada