Free and Fit Challenge 2017 - Freedom in Loyalty by Tim Cheux

Free and Fit Challenge 2017 - Freedom in Loyalty by Tim Cheux

Loyalty is a topic which often people take for granted. Loyal friends especially are often hard to come by. I myself have been seeking to find new friends whilst living and working in New York City. For example, It has been a difficult, soul searching and very challenging period in my life transitioning from London to New York City. However, I have managed to find friends who are loyal, loving and kind in the midst of difficulty in my life.

My best friend and wife Liza is a very loyal and a beautiful friend. Andrew, pictured on the right below, is also very loyal friend from Texas. This is us at our most recent meeting and includes our most recent Free and Fit New York member Rebecca, we were doing Sports Alpha walking and talking through Central Park.

As we discussed previously, friendship is key in your everyday life. I personally really value my own relationship with my accountability partner, mentor and friend Xavier who has been hugely influencial in helping me through a tranisent period. One of the verses we discussed previously were taken from Ecclesiastes and offer some helpful insight into friendship. "3. Ecclesiastes 4:10. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!".

Xavier and I outside of Trinity Wall Street

Friendship is not always an easy to find in a new city or area. During my time whilst I lived in Cambridge in 2009 I realised that I had become lonely, isolated and over reliant upon spending time with family and friends who lived outside of the city that I lived in. The picture below is of me on the River Cam in Cambridge with my Mum and Sister in summer 2009.

As a result, when I came to London in 2010 I sought out to find faith, fellowship and fitness immediately. I had no friends, no home or no real understanding of city life as I had spent most of my life in rural suburban Bedfordshire, beautiful sunny seaside in Dorset and the lovely leafy Cambridgeshire.

My search was long and hard, but I finally I found community at All Souls church on Regents Street in London where I later was confirmed in the summer of 2012. I would often meet with their pastor Rico Tice who shared with me how he came to faith through breaks in games of tennis with his loyal friend who would open the bible with him when they met. During my time with Rico we would talk talk about Jesus, rugby and he would encourage me in my search of Faith, Fellowship and Fitness.

Picture of me with Rico Tice at All Souls 2012.

After my time at All Souls church I moved to HTB in the winter of 2012 where I met and prayed with pastor Tim Matthews. Tim, alongside, Esther Smith (then Jones), helped me to settle in the church, attend Alpha and build friendships and community through being in a small group and pastorate leadership training where I learnt to lead through the excellent small group training and mentoring. I also received one to one support from pastors at the church including Tim, Miles Toulmin and David Walker. During this time Miles introduced me to my mentor and now one of my best friends, Vic Kimmel.

During our five years of friendship Vic has remained a loyal friend and brother in Jesus Christ displaying to me the values I hope and seek to live by through his friendship, mentoring and continuous support I have remained encouraged in my faith as we have continued to meet as the bible speaks about in Hebrews. Hebrews 10: 24-25 "and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching."

(Amplified version).

Vic and I remain good friends and I miss our meeting together. Below you can see Vic, Malcolm, Luke and myself at Wembley on the day when my faithful, yet extremely inconsistent, beloved football team Queens Park Rangers won promotion to the Premier League in 2014.

Me at Wembley with Vic in 2014.

Another obstacle in life, and often ranked as one of the most stressful things to do, I seek to find new accommodation when I first arrived in London. My Dad advised me that I should live in a place I was familiar with that I could feel comfortable, be close to my work place and find community. The answer? I moved to Shepherds Bush, a part of London I had been visiting for 25 years since 1992 as a Queens Park Rangers football fan. Near to QPR I had a place I could really feel familiar, and thank God, I was able to build community and have friendship in this area at this pivotal time in my life for four and a half years.

Me displaying my loyalty to my beloved QPR as a young boy.

Despite Queens Park Rangers being extremely frustrating I have remained loyal to my team for 25 years and will do for the remainder of my life. The key ingredient I realize I have been missing in New York is sports community, familiarity and those loyal friends who have been so present throughout my life and especially my time in London.

I may not have a QPR in New York, but there is a team that seems to be somewhat a little more low profile, and more community based in the New York Cosmos. Therefore, my hope is to attend a church regularly, see the Cosmos, join a small group and develop sports ministry by continuing to meet with my friends, develop new friendships and build community in this amazing city.

The Free and Fit course that we are currently writing is designed to do exactly that; build community, build friendships and help new and existing people in the cities of London and New York find community. Through our monthly events we hope to support those, who like me, seek to find new friends and build stories for lifelong memories in the city we live in.

If you like me seek community, loyal friends and to build your friendships. Keep people around you who love Jesus Christ, speak life into your circumstances and will be with you. If you love sport, love Jesus and want to learn more take advantage of our resource on loyalty using the instructions below and five verses to help you.