VP, Communications - Syncia Chan

Support the growth of ISMC in reaching international students and training them to become godly leaders around the world!

$6,405 raised
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“God is faithful!” These simple words moved me deeply when I heard them from a couple who had been missionaries for more than 30 years. What a joyful couple! Their eyes sparkled as they shared how God had worked in their ministry and lives!

I wanted to be like them, to put my trust in God and surrender to Him. I wanted to understand their unshakable joy and be part of a greater mission. A desire for full time ministry started to grow in my heart.

Early in 2015, ISMC asked me to serve in communications and marketing. Hmmm. Something to consider seriously . . . an opportunity to minister, an opportunity that matched my professional field and seven years of experience. Should I take this step of faith? Should I trust God’s provision and guidance? Did I have what it takes to grow in Him and testify to His faithfulness?

The calling was clear, but I was intimidated. Scared! Live on support? That step of faith required tremendous courage. I felt inadequate, but knew that fear denied everything I had learned about faith since becoming a Christian in 2000. I prayed, I asked friends to pray with me, and through the process, God gave me so much peace and encouragement I fully surrendered. It was not easy, but I believe it was the right decision!

MY MINISTRY
I develop and implement ISMC’s internal and external communications.

  • Internal communications—bring together the technology, process, and training to help staff effectively communicate and work together, even though scattered across Canada in 33 cities.
  • External communications—improve branding uniformity and implement integrated communication strategies (website, social media pages, newsletters, promotional material).

In addition to my national role, I help develop ISMC’s two-year-old ministry in Montreal, a city with a huge mission field of international students. The Montreal team organizes programs to build friendships so we can share Christ’s love. To help me in my ministry, I can speak four languages, but quickly learned that the language of love and respect were the most important.

ISMC—AN OVERVIEW
More than 110 staff and 500 volunteers ensure that international students are welcomed into a loving community and support network. We seek to reach and empower them in Canada so they can return to their homeland and have positive influences for Jesus, personally and professionally.

Canada hosts nearly a quarter million international students every year. Imagine what the world would look like if these international students were strategically empowered to bring positive impacts as salt and light in their home countries!

To learn more about ISMC, I invite you to view these videos.
ISMC in motion
Life-changing story from a student

MY APPEAL
As you partner with me financially, I will work hard and serve full time to make a difference—locally and nationally. As my ministry progresses, I commit to sharing with you the beautiful stories I experience, stories of God’s faithfulness and work in my life and that of many others.

Syncia
syncia.chan@ismc.ca

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*Fundraising for staff salary goals includes salary needs, ministry expenses, and 10% administration fees.

Gifts will be accepted only for projects or purposes approved by the governing board or Senior Leadership Team. Designated gifts will be used for the particular purpose or project for which they have been given. When any given need has been met, excess funds (if any) will be used where needed most. Gifts of ten dollars or more will be acknowledged with an official receipt for income tax purposes.

Staff & Project Updates

  • We had a lovely fellowship time with students and brought them to the Fish Frosh worship night yesterday. They enjoyed the experience of singing worship songs in different languages, including English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Korean! It was absolutely beautiful!

    We can talk to students about Jesus, but worship brings them to encounter Him! While they think that they are simply singing some touching church songs, the Holy Spirit is already doing wonderful works in their heart! This is much more effective than all that we can say about God.

    What a wonderful way to partner with our Heavenly Father!

    1 Corinthians 3:6-7
    I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

  • Thanks for all your prayers! The Biennial National Staff Conference 'United in God's Great Story' has been transformational! More than 80 staff, volunteers, partners and guest-speakers have united together to connect, to get equipped and to share God's great stories. Here's are some of the feedbacks we've received from our staff:

    "We really appreciate the sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit in guiding the organization to grow deeper. This is a crucial strategy for each of us individually and for the organization as a whole." - Stuart and Mary

    "With a focus of going deep we press on abiding in the LORD so that we might bear MUCH fruit for HIS glory! We were greatly encouraged by daily times of prayer, sharing our stories and inductive study of the living WORD! We also left inspired and challenged by our speakers." - Seth and Brittany 

    Reading these messages and seeing how ISMC staff have been empowered and encouraged, I count it ALL JOY the busyness, exhaustion and spiritual battles we (the conference planning team) have gone through. We have experienced God's faithfulness, provision and guidance all the way!

    At the conference, I sensed a strong presence of the Holy Spirit, and I am very happy to see that we are not running an organization with human wisdom and leadership, but a deep longing and surrendering to the sovereignty and guidance of our Almightily God!

    A Pastor once told me 'the higher you fly, the deeper you go'. While planning the staff conference, God has led me to a new level of understanding of this truth.

    As servant-leaders, the more we advance in ministry, the more we need to be rooted in God's Word and filled with His Spirit. This is the only way how we can persevere through and fight against the evil powers and spiritual forces.

    Thankfully, God has given me an awesome team, a strong Body of Christ held together in good times when we rejoice and praise; and in challenging times when we pray and support each others. The planning of the conference has led us experience what a heavenly family truly is! Thank God for an amazing Kingdom team!

    God Bless you all!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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:

    • to better present all aspects of the ministry;
    • to facilitate students to learn about and get connected to our programs;
    • to increase volunteer involvement and financial support;
    • to equip churches to minister to international students;
    • to expand our network of partnerships;

    ...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!

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    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.

    God bless,
    Syncia

  • This is the part 2 of "Wrapping up 2015 with Thanksgivings (part 1)". If you haven't read it, please click here.

    Ideas, visions and opportunities
    We serve a creative God, and I thank Him for all the creative ideas, visions and opportunities He has given for the communications aspect of ISMC.

    The first vision God has led me to see in April is the need for branding uniformity of all communication materials of ISMC. By His grace and guidance, we have adapted a new format for our printed newsletter DOORWAYS to accommodate more content and photos. The new newsletter enabled our partners to get an improved reading experience and to stay informed about the ministry. We also uniformized the look of other communications materials, such as the vertical promotional banner and the staff's business cards. Praise God that we also found a very affordable place to output all our communications materials.

    The membership with TechSoup Canada was one of the most significant opportunity God has opened for ISMC. Since our membership approval in May 2015, we have benefit from their technology donation program, which gave us free eligibility for Google for Non-Profit program as well as a discount to up to 90% of the retail price of several popular software, such as Microsoft Office Professional Suite. This open door has notably helped us to save the cost for technology needs and has improved the working efficiency of ISMC staff. Praise God!

    New knowledge and understanding
    We serve a God who give wisdom when we ask. In 2015, the most essential blessing I have received is the knowledge of Christ. The Bible says in John 17:3: And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. While most people think about eternal life as a place to go, Jesus explained us that eternal life is the knowledge of Christ that comes in us. 

    I had a talk with other ISMC staff, and I realized that we all experienced a similar path: when we made the decision to step into ministry, God might not immediately provide us with the financial needs; instead, He provides us with the deeper knowledge of Him. He led us to be rooted in His Word and filled us with the Holy Spirit in order to understand deeper truths. These internal provisions are much more essential than any physical provisions because they guard our heart with peace that surpasses all understanding.

    One of the things God has taught me and my local team in Montreal is to work prayfully. Instead of putting our focus on projects and plans, we switched our focus on prayers and let God project and plan. Since October, my team and i hold a weekly prayer meeting to pray for the ministry as well as personal needs. As a result, our team grew closer and stronger, and we also see God moving things beyond what we can imagine! All of a sudden, we have new volunteers joining our team, we have churches reaching out to us for partnership opportunities, and we are also connected to a sister who is praying about joining our team full time! Praise God!

    All these experiences reminded me of a quote mentioned during the Biennial ISMC staff conference in July: “What’s matters is our rootedness in Christ and He will take care of the fruitfulness”.

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    Praise God for everything He has done in 2015. I continue to trust His wonderful plan and provisions in 2016.

    May 2016 bring you all love, peace, joy and God’s miraculous guidance and blessings!

    Love,
    Syncia

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