|Simeon (not the right one)|
Simeon told me about someone he’d met recently. It’s a story that’s gathering momentum and it’s exciting to hear.
He’d spent the day at the Multiply International Leader’s Conference in Northamptonshire and met a guy called Tihi (short for Tihomir). Tihi’s on another level.
Tihi, a Christian, grew up in Serbia and was brought up a Christian. In his teenage years his faith slipped away into agnosticism then atheism but amidst his doubts he felt God calling him, and not just any call either, but a call to study theology at Oxford University. There are probably very few Serbians who’ve ever studied at Oxford, if any, and his family were poor and not highly educated.
|A Serbian mountain (probably not the right one)|
Out walking in the Serbian mountains one day while pondering this supposed call and wondering if he was even able to make it happen he came across a man. This stranger approached him, said the words “it’s right for you to go to Oxford” and walked off. When he later found the man in a mountain village nearby he found out he wasn’t a Christian but just felt like saying those words to him.
The God-incidences continue. Tihi, with hardly any money, applied for a visa knowing he was too late to apply. He was right- the visa office rejected his application. He then got a call from a man at the visa office who said “I know we’ve rejected your application but I’d like to accept it anyway!” So now he’s studying for a Doctorate in theology.
|Oxford Uni (the right one)|
The miracles continue. During the first year he went to Oxford three days before his tuition was due his sponsor withdrew his support as he knew neither Tihi nor his family had money to pay his fees. He knew if he didn’t come up with the money he’d be heading home. Returning to his room that evening, distraught, he decided to just pray, “If you’re there, would you help with this?” When he opened his e-mail he was surprised to find 23 e-mails in his inbox from people from all over the world. Some of the people he hadn’t spoken to in years and other people who he didn’t know had heard about what he was doing and felt like they should donate. Their donations covered his £12,200 student fee exactly! That’s an average of £530.44 from each donation.
Tihi is a man of great faith, but not the sort of SupermanofGod we sometimes imagine, who sees everything coming and is never flummoxed. Quite simply at every turn Tihi trusts what God says then wonders how the heck it’s going to happen.
For his Doctorate Tihi is writing a thesis on Church structure and community. That’s what led him to the Multiply conference, to hear about our New Creation Christian Community (Part of the larger Jesus Fellowship Church), Europe’s largest intentional Christian community.
Tihi invited Simeon and Andy Lants to speak about the Kingdom of God as expressed in Christian Community to a group of Christian Union students in Oxford on a Friday night (not all from Oxford Uni). Not knowing what to expect they went up and met the group of 20 or so. After an ice-breaker Tihi introduced them both, they told their stories then Tihi interviewed them for a few hours. Simeon told me he’d never been with such a group so hungry for the Kingdom.
I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more of Tihi and his Christian Union.
God, lead us on this adventure that you call the Kingdom of Heaven.
Open our eyes and open our friend’s eyes to see the beauty of the society you’ve already built amongst us.
Make us bold and make our friends bold in pressing into your Kingdom.
We have so much love to learn. Your kingdom come.
- Ryan’s Pemberton’s account of a conversation with Tihi
(quite long, search the page for ‘Tihi’)
- More articles on the Multiply Network