International Student Ministries Canada is a Christian charitable organization committed to empowering international students to impact the world through Jesus Christ.
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Sharing from Rhonda Berkhiem, Lead Pastor, Life Design Foursquare Church
In January 2016, the Life Design Foursquare Church sensed the Lord calling us to transition to a house church model of ministry with a focus on hospitality and community building. After much deliberation, we stopped renting a school gym and packed ourselves into the living room of my condo. For the next two months we prayed for direction. At our mid-March AGM, we came to an agreement on the ministry’s vision and mission. The next day we received an offer to rent what we now call Life Design House, just blocks from the Douglas College campus in New Westminster, BC.
We moved into the house in May and started a weekly community supper in June as a way to meet neighbors and explore what biblical hospitality could look like in our modern-day context. In July, I met Edward Hum, ISMC’s FOCUS Club director at Douglas College. I discovered we share a vision of building community through hospitality and love. This led to a wonderful partnership which has brought a new dynamic to our church community and the Douglas College FOCUS Club.
Life Design House has become a community hub for college students and alumni, neighbors, and our church. We host weekly community suppers, life groups, and prayer nights. We have also hosted cooking exchanges, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas Eve dinners with a candlelight service, as well as games/karaoke nights.
Since opening our front door six months ago, we have seen amazing things happen through salvation decisions, baptisms, and many divine appointments! Jesus has been teaching us how much can be accomplished together for His kingdom by simply allowing the power of His love to flow through us as a community. We are thankful for our partnership with Edward and the FOCUS family and look forward to all God has for us in 2017!
Published on the February 2017 issue of Doorways
Sharing from Yoori Shen, Campus Director, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
My life in Canada began as a 17-year-old student from South Korea; today, I am a fulltime ISMC staff member reaching the nations! As I look back, I see an amazing story of God’s leadership in my life as an international student.
The first step was, of course, the most important: accepting Christ as my savior while in college. I began volunteering with ISMC in 2011, was accepted as an intern student the following year, and became an associate staff member in 2013.
I am passionate about being a campus missionary—building friendships and discipling students. Having been an international student myself, I understand the struggles of newly arrived students. I will never forget being invited to a church where I was deeply moved by their love and hospitality. Knowing I am forgiven to forgive and blessed to be a blessing, changed my life. Rather than live for my own good and success, it is my desire to commit my life to God’s plan.
I met my husband David at Simon Fraser University’s FOCUS Club, where we serve. Because we live on campus, we can reach students during the week through Bible study groups and gatherings at our place.
David and I attend the New Westminster Christian Reformed Church where I serve as a pastoral elder and part of their international student fellowship leadership team.
Please pray for us and the international students we influence, that we may continue be God’s channel of love to neighbors and community.
Word from the President—Dr. Yaw Perbi
“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4, NIV
God put a BIG dream in our hearts: that by 2023, every international student in Canada will have the opportunity to be loved and led by ISMC or our partners. To this end, nearly four years ago we established a strategy to grow wide from 2013 to 2016 and then go deep from 2016 to 2019.
Our going wide phase meant gains in staff, cities, and multitudes of students being impacted. Our city directors and the national leadership team have identified six elements for the going deep phase.
Deeper Discipleship—this starts with our personal spiritual and emotional health as staff, and includes solid discipleship training so we can disciple our students better than we do today.
Richer Resourcing—quality support in people, technology, literature/multimedia, training and other resources to get the job of reaching the nations done well.
Conscious Consolidation—intentionality regarding significant staff engagement, healthy organizational culture, and unity nationally as well as solidification of local ministries.
Reasonable Recruitment—meaningful and strategic recruiting that results in at least one new career, one associate staff, and double the volunteers in each city over the next three years.
Serious Succession Planning—no one, no matter how well intentioned and dedicated, can serve ISMC forever, so we should be earnest and thoughtful about replacing ourselves.
Avant-garde Catalyst—that all the above will put us in good stead to be cutting edge agents who precipitate and accelerate international student ministries by envisioning, encouraging and equipping the wider body of Christ to reach the nations at their doorsteps knowing full well we cannot reap the entire harvest ourselves.
The quest for emotionally healthy leadership (through deeper discipleship, as stated above) will be a major focus of ISMC’s biennial national staff conference this summer. Jesus invites us to launch into the deep and let down our nets to catch the 400,000 international students in Canada for Him. Will you please journey with us, investing prayer and resources to get us there?
International Student Ministries CanadaBox 1205, Three Hills AB, T0M 2A0
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