I'm a graphic and web designer by training and have worked as a marketing coordinator for more than seven years. I'm very thankful that the Lord has equipped me with knowledge and experince that I can now contribute to the advancement of His Kingdom.
I live in Canada since I was seven. Although I'm not an international student, I came to the Lord when I was an university student. I understand the struggles and the need for deeper meanings in life, especially for a student in their early twenties. They are curious and open-minded. It's a great group to reach out with the love of Christ, and I'm thankful to be part of this great mission!
There is a wide-open door for a great work here. - 1 Corinthians 16:9
Syncia ChanVisit my Linkedin Profile
Lifestyle evangelism is a great way to minister to international students. We can all do it simply by experiencing life, sharing friendship and love, and releasing Christ's glorious light in the lives of these young people.
During our last FOCUS Club in March, students expressed their interest in an outing activity at the sugar shack. Many of them have never been, so we decided to bring them to experience their first Canadian sugar shack.
Thanks God for bringing along such an awesome team to organize this activity. We were 21 in total, and we had a really great time sharing friendship, fun, food and faith!
It was raining the whole week, but NOT A SINGLE DROP OF WATER when we were at the sugar shack with the students. Praise the Lord!
We just had another gathering yesterday with the youth ministries leaders and some international students. I sense God doing something phenomenal by uniting us together in such a perfect timing, just a few months before ISMC staff conference that will take place in Montreal this summer!
At the meeting yesterday, we were united with French speaking, English speaking, Mandarin speaking and Spanish speaking people for a multicultural dinner, a small Bible study, a worship and dancing time. I had the opportunity to talk to a few other leaders and shared ideas how we may work together to reach the 35,000+ international students in Montreal.
Love brings unity; and unity brings revival! Praise God for His amazing works among us, among local ministries and churches in Montreal!!!
We had an amazing gathering with the leaders of youth ministries in Montreal this past Saturday! As children of Christ, we are so blessed to have our Heavenly Father in the center. His almightiness and love unite us together as One, working together for His glory!
I really love the heart and humility of all these amazing leaders. Pray for God's will to be done through all of us!
We had an awesome time at the FOCUS gathering with students tonight. Thanks God for bringing all these lovely people even in this super cold day!
Montreal FOCUS Club
FOCUS stands for Friends of Overseas College and University Students. It is a student club with internationals. ISMC has FOCUS Clubs across Canada, touching thousands of lives with the love of Christ!
A new FOCUS Club has been launched in Montreal since November last year. We gather with students the second Saturday of every month. It’s been a blessing to meet students from different cultures coming together to share friendship, food, fun and faith!
“People need a place to belong before they believe,” a quote I recently heard, and this is the focus or our FOCUS Club: to provide students a home away from home where they feel loved and cared for.
At the first FOCUS Club of 2017, we invited host families and students who have participated to Friends for Dinner last year. We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to reconnect after their Christmas dinner gathering. Host families shared about their experiences hosting students during Christmas time. “We had a great time together and had a lot of conversations,” said one of the host families, “we watched a short video about Christmas, sang the song This is Amazing Grace, read a Bible verse about love, and prayed together! It was wonderful!“
Six Indian students along with other students joined the FOCUS Club in January. We watched the video series on The Stranger on the road to Emmaus, and had a interactive discussion about the origins of the Bible.
The February FOCUS Club was held just this past Saturday. This time, four Chinese students came. We had a very interesting discussion about creation and the existence of angels. Everyone asked fascinating questions that led to inspiring sharings. One of the students expressed her interest to visit a church and to meet more Christians. She said, "there are a lot of rude and lost people in this world. I think it's because they don't have God in their heart. People who go to church and have God in their heart are very kind."
Pray for this student as I will invite her to my church next Sunday! May the Holy Spirit continue to work in the heart of these students.
Thank you for your prayers and partnership in God’s mission!
Summer has gone by way too fast! I woke up this morning and felt the first few signs of the beautiful fall season that we are heading to. It is the time of the year when people refocus back to work and school. Universities campuses are packed with students. Among them are many students who newly arrived in Montreal, and are excited to explore this new journey as international students in Canada.
This past weekend, we had a Back to School BBQ to welcome new international students and to connect with existing ones. This BBQ was made possible thanks to the partnership and support from the Montreal Chinese Baptist Church. Not only we had an awesome time connecting with students. After the BBQ, we went for a walk with a few new arrived students, and had a great time sharing about life in Montreal.
One of the wonderful things about having a large network of ISMC staff and partners across Canada allows us to connect students with local Christian communities when they travel from one city to another for their studies. I had the opportunity to meet several students this summer who were connected to me by other ISMC staff. T. is one of them. She graduated from her undergraduate degree in London, ON, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in Montreal.
I would like to share a beautiful testimony from T. As a kid, T. used to attend church every Sunday with her grandma and mom when she was in China. During her teenage, her mom suddenly passed away due to a heart disease. This heartbreaking event has led her to give up her faith in Christ. She was filled with anger, fear and anxiety. Many years later, as she arrived in Canada as an international student, she was approached by some loving Christ followers who asked if she knew God. T. always thought that she knew God because she has been attending church as a kid, but a deeper conversation with a sister led her to realize how much she didn’t know God neither understand His sacrificial love. During a service at church, T. was very touched and felt God calling her home. She then made the decision to follow Christ, and get baptized. Her baptism has just taken place the week before the BBQ.
It was wonderful to connect with the born again T. at the BBQ last week. Her story reminded me how God never gives up on us because He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). T. shared during her baptism: “God has changed me and taken away my fears, and filled my heart with peace, love, joy and hope. He gives me patience, strength and wisdom in my daily walk, and I always rejoice in His presence. I love Jesus Christ, my Savior, and I will follow Him with no turning back!”
What a touching story of an international student. Please pray for T. as she is starting a new semester. May her testimony continue to bring powerful impact to other students in her surrounding.
Blessings in Him,Syncia
Many exciting things have been taking place in this first quarter of 2016. The year began with many great feedback from our host families about their Christmas gathering with students via Friends for Dinner—a friendship and hospitality program that connects international students with local Christian families for a dinner during the major holidays, such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.
It's such a joy to hear about their experiences!
"We had a great time with the Indian students. I cooked a lot of Indian food, so they were very much at home!"
"Thanks again for this wonderful ministry and for the opportunity to connect with students here in Montreal!"
"Our kids have loved Friends for Dinner every year and I always find the students connect well with the little ones. These particular students are here for a few years, so we hope to connect with them again in the coming year for some kind of activities."
Friends for Dinner have been running in Montreal since 2013, Along with the team of volunteers, we matched over 70 students with local Christian host families for diners during the major holidays. These gatherings have opened a wide door of opportunities for friendship building as well as for sharing of the gospel.
The Easter campaign of Friends for Dinner has just taken place in this past week-end. Some of our previous hosts have re-invited their students from Christmas for an Easter celebration. We also received new registrations from students and hosts. May the Lord make the many seeds that have been planted in the hearts of these students grow, so they may know Christ and the hope of His salvation!
Since last October, we also created a Facebook group called Montreal FOCUS Club. FOCUS stands for Friends for Oversea College and University Students. We use this group mainly to:
We also encourage our hosts to use this group to invite students for simple activities, such as a trip to Costco for grocery shopping. The goal is to be a friend or big brothers and sisters to these students, walk out our faith, and share with them the love of Christ whenever an opportunity presents.
Lunar New Year celebration is our first big event in 2016. We gathered around 25 hosts and students for an evening of dumplings wrapping and eating. Do you know that there are seven ways to wrap a dumpling? Most of the Chinese students know, and they helped showing other students and hosts who had their first experience in wrapping dumplings. We enjoyed a some great conversations with the students while we were wrapping the dumplings. We also took the opportunity to invite them to other events happening at churches around the city. This is our main strategy to connect students to local Christian communities. Thanks God for the many great programs, such as ESL/Bible classes, that are available at churches and on campuses. These programs have attracted a lot of Chinese students who are interested to improve their English by reading stories from the Bible. May God lead us to bring more students to these programs and use them powerfully to build His Kingdom!
Please pray for the staff and volunteer team in Montreal. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We need more workers!
One of the big ideas God has put into my heart since the beginning of the year is a major revamp of ISMC communications strategy. The aim is to optimize working efficiency for the staff, minimize operational costs and to get more people involved in this vital ministry, where God is doing amazing things among international students!
Thanks God that whenever He entrusts a task, He also gives ideas, provide resources, equips with abilities and connects us with the right people!
Complete revamping of ismc.ca
The ISMC website is a powerful platform for our external communications. We use it to present our ministry, provide updates to our partners, and raise funds to support our staff and projects. In order to make the most of it, I took the initiative since the beginning of the year to completely revamp the website. This involves reviewing its content, improving the layout and training staff to make effective use of it.
The objectives are:
...and all these contribute to the vital growth of ISMC!
Visit our new About us section, Students page and ISMC Toronto page. More new and revised content will be added in the coming months.
Staff room moved to a new server
ISMC staff room is our powerful platform for internal communications. This is particularly important as ISMC staff are scattered in 34 cities across Canada, and communications can sometime be a challenge. That’s why we have put together the ISMC staff room to share internal information and resources.
Due to a recent technical issue, we had to move our staff room to a new server. As we were trying to tackle this task, God sent us a generous brother in Christ who offered to assist in the transition process and even gave us free hosting space! What a blessing! Another example how God provides!
New content strategy
We like to tell stories on our quarterly Doorways newsletters. This is how we keep our partners informed about the impacts they brought to the lives of international students when they support ISMC. As an initiative to get students involved in the elaboration of our newsletter, we published on the February issue of Doorways our first article entitled The true meaning of love, written by a student leader. We are excited to hear many great feedback and we plan to feature more stories from the students in the future issues or Doorways.
Making the switch from print publishing to digital publishing
As costs for everything from paper to shipping increase, making the jump to digital is becoming more appealing in order to minimize costs and labors. With in mind, we are working through a process to switch our quarterly Doorways newsletter from four prini publishings per year to two print publishings and two digital publishings per year.
As a first step for this initiative, we launched a campaign to invite partners to subscribe to our paperless Doorways. Many responses have been received since, and our mailing list for our paperless newsletter has been growing. We will continue to include the campaign on the next issues of Doorways. Lord willing, by 2017, we will be ready for the switch!
Above are most of the projects I’ve been working to contribute to the mission of empowering international students to impact the world through Jesus Christ. Imagine these students rise up to a generation of godly leaders and missionaries bringing impact globally!
If you share the same vision of reaching out the nations at our doorstep, prayerfully consider partnering with me financially to continue this vital ministry. You can read more and support my ministry via my project page.
Yaw with Charles (ISI staff, Arizona) at Urbana, where ISMC and ISI shared a booth.
Word from the President—Dr. Yaw Perbi
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Matthew 28:8-9 NIV
Founded by Billy Graham in 1974 and cemented by the likes of John Stott, when the Lausanne Movement speaks, people listen. This pivotal movement, which connects ideas and influencers for global mission, has undergone significant changes over the past couple of months, such as appointing new and generally younger leaders.
In November 2015, Dr. David Platt, president of International Mission Board, who is about my age, was appointed chair of Lausanne’s theology working group. A month later, I had the privilege of being appointed the new Lausanne co-senior associate for international student ministry. To God be the glory!
Several awesome things happened at Urbana 15 (InterVarsity’s student missions conference) last December in St. Louis, Missouri. There were over 600 decisions for Christ and 5,500 commitments to short-term missions! What challenged me most was Dr. Platt’s exposition on our propensity to passionately pursue a cause (even international student ministry) while personally ignoring Jesus.
Indeed, wasn’t John Wesley (founder of Methodism) a devout preacher and trans-Atlantic career missionary before his conversion years later?
As Dr. Platt succinctly put it, many try to manufacture a heart for missions, yet miss a heart for Christ.
In Matthew 26:8-9, the disciples expressed concern for the poor, but just a few verses later Judas sells his Master for a few coins and Peter publicly denies Him three times.
After an incredible six weeks of visiting 13 cities to promote my Amazon book Thinking outside the Window, it was a relief to take off the entire month of January, not only to rest, reflect, recuperate, and enjoy my family, but to fully engage in ISMC's annual 21-day fast and prayer.
How I want my heart to absolutely and fully belong to Jesus first, to Jesus only! As you step into the new year, reflect on and recalibrate your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dr. Platt’s poignant question at Urbana still resounds: “Does your heart fully belong to Jesus?” If it does, your time and energy and money should automatically follow, even if it’s a whole year’s worth of wages distilled in one alabaster jar.
The Great Commandment, to love God, comes before the Great Commission to go and tell. Worship first, then work and witness.
O that our ministry and mission for Him will only be an overflow of our absolute in-loveness with Him!
Sharing from Paulin Ngweth, City Director in New Brunswick
It is my passion to serve as Moncton city director. Together with my volunteer team, we lead a weekly FOCUS Club for fellowship, thoughtful discussions, social activities, and outreach. Most of my time is given to building friendships with friendly international students.
Last December, we invited international students to join us in celebrating Christmas; we enjoyed a precious time of eating, playing games, laughing, and discussing life issues. What a joy to share Christ’s love by simply doing life with these internationals!
Our Moncton ministry is exciting and challenging as we seek to equip and encourage students to take the gospel home with them. Our vision is to see students built into communities of disciples and transformed by the gospel so they will impact the university, the church, and society for Christ’s glory! Please pray with us that these students will discover Jesus, develop spiritual maturity, and become godly leaders.
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