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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Word from the President—Dr. Yaw Perbi
“From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” 1 Chronicles 12:32, NLT
October 9, 2016. Seattle, Washington. A brown skinned young lady rushes toward my wife and me, beside herself with joy and exclaiming, “Uncle Bakht Singh, Uncle Bakht Singh!”
“What is going on?” I wondered, bracing for one of God’s frequent pleasant surprises.
It was a joy to be invited to Seattle Missions Fest early last month to serve as a keynote speaker on their insightful theme, Global Disruption: Problem or Opportunity? How appropriate, considering the present, unprecedented global movement of people—voluntarily and forcibly—be they economic migrants, refugees from war and terrorism, or international students. There are more people on the move than ever in world history: 245 million of them crossing international borders, including over five million international students. That is a wave!
Why? Because God is on the move! Paul’s message on Mars Hill makes clear the sovereignty of God in determining the eras of history and the locations of people. God makes and moves in waves so His people get to spread His fame (Acts 8:4) while others get to know His name (Acts 17:26-27).
We cannot create these waves but can learn to surf them as God makes them. As a mission agency, we feel honored that God would open our eyes to see His latest wave. We are learning to surf it. Welcome to the new era of mission where globalization has so shrunk time and space that international student ministry is not local, not global, but glocal. Small local action in any Canadian city can have huge global ramifications through a ripple effect.
For a perfect example of surfs and ripples, consider the young lady I mentioned earlier.
Her name is Lima. When she saw a slide of Bakht Singh, a Sikh international student who was transformed by the love of Winnipeg’s John and Edith Hayward, Lima couldn’t believe her eyes. That young man, Bakht Singh, returned to India to disciple her parents, marry them, commission them for ministry among university students in India, and dedicate her (Lima) as a baby.Lima’s father later became an international student in the U.S. where she was raised. She served as a missionary in China and now serves the Lord with her Chinese husband and three children among low income families and refugees in the U.S.
The pebble was dropped in Canada, rippled to India, returned to the U.S., spread to India and China, just reconnected to Canada and . . . who knows what and where next?
May we understand the times we live in, learn to surf God’s waves, and allow Him to use us to cause glocal ripples from where we work and live to the ends of the earth!
Sharing from John Cuddeford, Campus Director, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Among the stories of international students impacting the world through Jesus Christ, I share that of Wing (name changed), a Ph.D. student from China who attended the FOCUS Club at the University of British Columbia.
Wing recalls, “I heard a voice inside saying ‘Why don’t you become a Christian?’ Until then, a different question was there: ‘Why should I become a Christian?’ I knew this was God speaking.”
Wing’s face beamed as she told us how she gave her life to Christ. Soon after, in the cold December waters of Vancouver’s English Bay, she was baptized.
When I met her in Beijing a few months later, Wing shared how God answered our prayers for the defense of her thesis on feminism. Before coming to Vancouver and joining the FOCUS Club, she had been frustrated by her inability to complete a crucial chapter of her dissertation. It was on the nature of men and women and how this contributes to a proper view of the potential and dignity of women. However, once Wing became a Christian and read Genesis 2 and 3, she was able to finalize the writing, using the creation story. Wing knew she was taking a huge risk in using the Bible as support, but God honored her faith and courage with a successful defense.
Wing’s dream had been to teach in a large university where she could inspire the next generation, particularly young women, to become all they hoped to be. In China, the competition for such jobs is fierce. Once again, we rejoiced together as God answered our prayers—Wing is teaching and reaching hundreds of students at a prestigious university. As a Christian, she is living out her dream and impacting the world—not for herself and not for her university or family, but for Jesus Christ!
Wing’s story is one of many about international students coming to the Lord in Canada before returning home, carrying the light of Christ to shine into the lives of many.
Published on the November 2016 issue of Doorways
Sharing from Cam Janzen, Vice President, International Field
For international students, life as a new Christian is often more different in Canada than it is when they return home.
In Canada, they can comfortably join ISMC or other Bible-based programs and be surrounded by supportive and helpful Christians. But back home, many may feel disconnected from the good news. To address this situation, ISMC’s returnee department is building a network so returnees can connect to Christian communities in their homeland. We see this as an essential empowerment for continued growth in the faith. Dave Buchner speaks of following up returnees as an important and heartfelt part of the Guelph ministry:
“We normally meet with the students to discuss necessary re-adjustments, answer questions, and give an informal gospel presentation. All returnees receive a DVD with our Bible studies and other resources in English and in their language. Once they are back home, we follow up with group messages, personal emails, and feedback to ensure they have connected to a Christian community. It is a good way to explore Christianity, even if they are not believers.
Recently, during individual meetings to prepare three of our Chinese Bible study participants for returning, those who had become believers were linked before returning home. For example, Jim and family were connected with a house church, Kate returned to connect with her best friend who was already a Christian, and Milli expressed a desire to see a sign that God is real. A few days later, before she left, she shared how God had spoken to her in a dream and she opened her heart to Jesus. We are excited to see God working through miracles today! Milli and her husband (already a believer in China) attend a Bible study group we’ve connected them to.”
We are so grateful for the pioneering work the Buchners have done in the area of returnee ministry. Please pray with us in asking God to strengthen the resolve of our student friends, so they can impact their world for Jesus Christ at home.
International Student Ministries CanadaBox 1205, Three Hills AB, T0M 2A0
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