Vancouver - John Cuddeford

Seeking to Reach over 13,000 International Students

$19,850 raised
115
donations

As the ISMC campus director at the University of British Columbia, it's my privilege to lead a team of people ministering to international students.  Four years ago UBC had no official club reaching out to this group, the largest of any campus in North America - and probably the largest in the world where Christians are free to share their faith.  Now we are connecting with them through weekly Focus Club dinners and Bible studies, events, one-to-one discipleship and church partnerships. 

We've been encouraged as we've seen God bring students and scholars to Christ, grow them in their faith and involve churches in praying for and caring for them.  But in many ways we’re just scratching the surface and there are so many opportunities -  we pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send more workers!  

Now that I'm city director for Vancouver, I need wisdom to balance the priorities of the UBC ministry with that of the five other campuses we reach out to.  It's a wonderful privilege to be part of what God is doing here!

Please see our UBC Focus Club video below:

 

And you can find out more about it on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FOCUS.IBSF.Group.at.UBC

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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're excited about our upcoming concert, a week this Saturday! Please be in prayer that it would be effective in spreading the word about our ministry with international students. It will also be a wonderful musical experience. 

    Join us for an ISMC fundraising concert on Sat., Feb 25 at 7 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church, 109 East 40th Ave, Vancouver. Pianist Julie Lowe, who gave a concert to our students in September, joins Winfried Rompf and other musicians from Immanuel. ISMC staff worker Izumi Araki will share about the ministry with international students. Proceeds will go to ISMC's work in Vancouver. Please invite your friends and pray for this event that will not only raise financial support but also spread the word about this strategic work.

  • “You can now call me Dr W____!”  Several weeks ago I received this great news from W., a PhD. student who had just graduated (upper photo; I've deleted her full name).  But this wasn’t the best part of the story.  W., who attended our Focus Club last fall and had given her life to Jesus before returning to China, told me about her thesis defense.   I already knew it was on feminism in China.  What I didn’t know was that W. had been unable to complete a crucial chapter in her thesis.  It was on the nature of men and of women and how this contributes to a proper view of the potential and dignity that women deserve.  No matter how hard she worked, W. couldn’t finish it. Until, that is, she became a Christian and read Genesis 1 and 2.  Returning to China, she finished the chapter, using the creation story as a pillar in her thesis that men and women are created with equal value, potential and giftedness.  W. knew that she was taking a huge risk in using the Bible to support her thesis.  But if there’s one thing our times together have taught me about W., it’s that she’s fearless!  And her trust in God was honoured as W. successfully defended that thesis.  Yet as encouraging as this story is, it gets even better! W.’s dream has always been to teach in a university.  But as you can imagine, while there are tens of thousands of PhD. graduates who have the same dream, there are relatively very few job openings.  So when W. told me she has been given a position as assistant professor at a prestigious university, we rejoiced with her that God had blessed her step of courage and faith.  As she begins teaching you just know that W.’s life and faith will have an impact on the students she’s in contact with.  It’s humbling to know that no Christian from Canada could ever, even after decades of education, cultural and language training, reach the people that W. will reach.  W.’s story is not only one of miracles, it’s a perfect example of why we do what we do….

    Our vision at ISMC is “To Empower International Students to Impact the World through Jesus Christ.”  We know that, as the brightest and best from their countries, they WILL make an impact!  The question is “for who?” For their company? their government? their family? themselves?  We are so grateful to God that, by His grace, we see students like W. returning to their countries to make an impact for Jesus!

    “John, I have something to tell you…!”  Several weeks ago, Y. was returning the UBC Focus Club LCD projector to our home.  As she stood in the doorway, a wonderful smile filled her face and she blurted out “I’ve just become a Christian!”  My wife Jooling and I gave her hugs and welcomed her to God’s family.  After months of praying for her, we could finally say “Now you’re our brand new sister!”  The joy that this wonderful news gave us was deep and infectious - all who learned of Y’s decision were likewise filled with great joy.  A couple of weeks later she shared her story at Focus Club (lower photo).  While I’m so grateful for joy-full experiences like this, I’m left with a question.  How can we be so eager and excited to tell the good news of someone who’s found new life in Jesus and yet so fearful and reluctant to tell others how they can find that same life?  Think back for a moment to the look on the face of the last person who told you they’ve just become a Christian.  Would that we could have that same joy in sharing the gospel with others - “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

    Not all stories are happy...

    I received an email last week from a student I met in China whom I’ve stayed in contact with.  For reasons of security I won’t mentioned the location but she told me of how “...our three-self churches in __ were experiencing some persecutions this month…. the government now decreed that all the crosses on the church towers be toured [sic] down in a month. Many believers were risking their lives protecting the cross, proclaiming that the head of the church is not the government, but Christ. It is true that so many of them have paid a big price for protesting the decree, we are praying for the believers. Professor ___ agreed that it would only make the real Christians stand firmer.”  Although God is performing many miracles in China and the church is growing rapidly, many our sisters and brothers in Christ are suffering and need our prayers.

    Thanks so much for your prayers and partnership! 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • “You can now call me Dr W____!”  Several weeks ago I received this great news from W., a PhD. student who had just graduated (upper photo; I've deleted her full name).  But this wasn’t the best part of the story.  W., who attended our Focus Club last fall and had given her life to Jesus before returning to China, told me about her thesis defense.   I already knew it was on feminism in China.  What I didn’t know was that W. had been unable to complete a crucial chapter in her thesis.  It was on the nature of men and of women and how this contributes to a proper view of the potential and dignity that women deserve.  No matter how hard she worked, W. couldn’t finish it. Until, that is, she became a Christian and read Genesis 1 and 2.  Returning to China, she finished the chapter, using the creation story as a pillar in her thesis that men and women are created with equal value, potential and giftedness.  W. knew that she was taking a huge risk in using the Bible to support her thesis.  But if there’s one thing our times together have taught me about W., it’s that she’s fearless!  And her trust in God was honoured as W. successfully defended that thesis.  Yet as encouraging as this story is, it gets even better! W.’s dream has always been to teach in a university.  But as you can imagine, while there are tens of thousands of PhD. graduates who have the same dream, there are relatively very few job openings.  So when W. told me she has been given a position as assistant professor at a prestigious university, we rejoiced with her that God had blessed her step of courage and faith.  As she begins teaching you just know that W.’s life and faith will have an impact on the students she’s in contact with.  It’s humbling to know that no Christian from Canada could ever, even after decades of education, cultural and language training, reach the people that W. will reach.  W.’s story is not only one of miracles, it’s a perfect example of why we do what we do….

    Our vision at ISMC is “To Empower International Students to Impact the World through Jesus Christ.”  We know that, as the brightest and best from their countries, they WILL make an impact!  The question is “for who?” For their company? their government? their family? themselves?  We are so grateful to God that, by His grace, we see students like W. returning to their countries to make an impact for Jesus!

    “John, I have something to tell you…!”  Several weeks ago, Y. was returning the UBC Focus Club LCD projector to our home.  As she stood in the doorway, a wonderful smile filled her face and she blurted out “I’ve just become a Christian!”  My wife Jooling and I gave her hugs and welcomed her to God’s family.  After months of praying for her, we could finally say “Now you’re our brand new sister!”  The joy that this wonderful news gave us was deep and infectious - all who learned of Y’s decision were likewise filled with great joy.  A couple of weeks later she shared her story at Focus Club (lower photo).  While I’m so grateful for joy-full experiences like this, I’m left with a question.  How can we be so eager and excited to tell the good news of someone who’s found new life in Jesus and yet so fearful and reluctant to tell others how they can find that same life?  Think back for a moment to the look on the face of the last person who told you they’ve just become a Christian.  Would that we could have that same joy in sharing the gospel with others - “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

    Not all stories are happy...

    I received an email last week from a student I met in China whom I’ve stayed in contact with.  For reasons of security I won’t mentioned the location but she told me of how “...our three-self churches in __ were experiencing some persecutions this month…. the government now decreed that all the crosses on the church towers be toured [sic] down in a month. Many believers were risking their lives protecting the cross, proclaiming that the head of the church is not the government, but Christ. It is true that so many of them have paid a big price for protesting the decree, we are praying for the believers. Professor ___ agreed that it would only make the real Christians stand firmer.”  Although God is performing many miracles in China and the church is growing rapidly, many our sisters and brothers in Christ are suffering and need our prayers.

    Thanks so much for your prayers and partnership! 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • When W. sent me this WeChat message (top left), I had already heard from S. that W. had taken a great step closer to giving her life to   Jesus.  I continue to be in touch with them both.  Throughout my trip to China, I had the privilege of seeing God work in the lives of so many people.  So many answered prayers!

    As I anticipated this six week journey, I had three main prayer requests/ purposes.  First, to connect with students/scholars who have been involved in Focus Clubs and churches in Vancouver.  More specifically, to encourage the Christians in their faith and help ensure that they have found a good church home.  Also, to urge the non-Christians to continue to ask the “big questions” they had been wrestling with as we met in Vancouver.  I’m so grateful that I was able to help W., a Ph. D. student in religious studies, do this during our time together over coffee in Beijing. 

    The second purpose of my trip was to learn more about the church in China.  And I learned one thing right away: asking the question “What is the church in China like today?” is a little like asking “What is the weather in Canada like today?”  It depends a great deal on where you are!  I was invited to a number of churches, large and small, government and “family.”  Everywhere I met Christians hungry for God and non-Christians investigating Jesus and the Bible.  And in many places I met courageous church leaders who modelled boldness in sharing their faith and in growing their congregations under God.  The leaders of this Bible study of professors and students asked me to take and share pictures like this (top middle) with you.  They appreciate our prayers for them.  One young woman in this photo, despite a demanding academic program, studies New Testament Greek and theology so she can be better lead the group.  Please pray for D. and the others.  And for all whom they represent throughout China. 

    "Are you ready to be tortured for Jesus?"  This was the question J. (top right) heard preached every week in the church she first joined when she returned to China.  She appreciated the deep suffering that the pastor and others had endured years ago. She understood that she and others may indeed face greater persecution in the future.  But as the months passed, she became increasingly hungry for preaching that engaged the congregation more deeply with Biblical truth and its application in their daily lives.  She agonized over whether she should find another church.  She has since done so and is growing in her faith.  Unfortunately, J’s early experience is a common one for returnees.  And so the third purpose for my trip was to learn how we can better prepare students like J. for the transition back to life in China, esp. life in the church there.  I will have more to say about this in my next newsletter.  Pray for the J.’s throughout China who wrestle with this reality. 

    How does the world see China?  A rising star on the global stage? (bottom left)  A people with a rich culture and long history? (bottom middle) A land that for millennia has faced enemies and survived? (bottom right)  Yes, China is all this and more.  But the most important question is “How does God see China?”  I’ve spent only six weeks travelling that great country and certainly don’t presume to know God’s thoughts - but we all know God’s heart. He loves that nation and He is on the move throughout its length and breadth.  In addition, He has brought many thousands of the brightest and best from China into our midst, including 3500 at UBC alone.  And He invites us to reach them, for His sake!  Will you join us in continuing to pray and work toward this end?

    PRAISE GOD for… (1) the connections made with students/scholars in China, (2) God’s wonderful work in the lives of people I met, (3) the courage and faith of the church in China and (4) health and strength throughout the 9000 km of train travel over six weeks and 12 cities.

    PRAY for… (1) the seeds which were planted in the hearts of many, (2) those Christians who face persecution and a highly stressful life back in China (3) young leaders in the Chinese churches, often with little or no theological or pastoral training, (4) (back here in Vancouver) more churches to partner with us by providing meals 

    Thanks so much for your prayers and partnership! 

  • She prays to God regularly about her future, her studies and her relationships.  She worships with us at our Focus Club meetings.  She tells me what God is teaching her as she studies the Bible.  In the photo above, she is sharing her story in a church where I preached.  Oh, and one more thing, Y., a student from China, is not a Christian….yet. 

    Once upon a time the typical pattern for non-Christians to follow was this: they gave their life to Christ then they joined the church.  First conversion and then community.  Believing before belonging. But as many Christian theologians and missiologists are suggesting, things today are often different.  Many people find themselves drawn into Christian community first.  Then, as time passes, they realize that they have come to believe the gospel; they then undergo conversion.  Belonging, then believing!

    We are seeing more and more stories like Y.’s at Focus Club.  Like Y., A. regularly prays, worships and shares with close Focus Club friends what God is doing in her life.  Through the community of faith she has come to belong to, A. has heard the evidence for Christianity, has seen God at work and has heard his voice.  Because A. has belonged, she is now ready to believe...recently she said that she wants to be baptized and we are working with her to find her a home church. 

    When A. told me she wanted me to be baptized, I thought back to others who had “belonged then believed.”  One who had done so early in our Focus Club (in fact even before we were an official UBC club), was Grace.  If you want to read more about Grace's story, you can find it in (or ask me for) my June 2013 newsletter.  Her story has also been recently published in the Canadian Bible Society’s ISMC New Testament.  You can see a photo of it above. There a slide of Grace’s baptism is projected onto the wall. It’s one of about 50 slides in a PowerPoint we run continuously during the early portion of our Focus Club evenings.  Here O., a Japanese student, is giving me a gift: my name written by her in Japanese calligraphy. That night we said goodbye as O. returned to Japan. It is no coincidence that Grace’s slide appeared at exactly the moment this photo was taken: I believe God was encouraging us. Over the previous year O. had gained a sense of   community in our Vancouver Focus Clubs.  O. has known what it is to belong to a Christian community; we are praying with confidence that she, like Grace, will one day believe!

    Community is a precious gift of God; belonging to community (such as our Focus Club in the photo above) is even more precious.  One of our core values and highest  priorities is to nurture this gift and ask for God’s help to strengthen and protect it.  Through belonging we are seeing many believe!

    By the way, you may be wondering what kind of “testimony” Y. shared in the photo above.  Some might say that a testimony needs to be a story of Christian conversion.  All I can say is I wish you could have been there to hear Y. speak.  Her story was both simple and powerful. And it was a testimony - Y. testified and witnessed to the facts of how God has been leading her on a journey of discovery and change.  Since joining us, she has come to belong.  Those of us in leadership believe that she will soon fully believe! 

    (N.B. Since the time I first wrote this, several months ago, Y. has become a Christian!)

    Please join us in a praying community that trusts God together and prays for these students whom God loves - and calls us to love and serve.  Thank you!

  • “Thank you...I was running toward the edge of a cliff and You saved me.” Her words came quietly yet with full conviction, pouring from a heart that God has been preparing for a long time.  Y. was giving thanks this past Thanksgiving weekend for what Jesus had done for her on the cross.   Together with the “sorry” of her confession/repentance and the “please” of her desire that the Holy Spirit now enter and direct her life, Y.s thanksgiving was part of her journey from one life to another.  Y. had given her life to Christ. 

    For me, the event was especially meaningful.  Across from our meeting place at Regent College is U.B.C.’s Koerner Hospital, the place where my father passed into the presence of Jesus last year.  In fact, through the very window beside us, I could see the window through which my father had his last views.  On that day my father finished his earthly life following Jesus.  On this day, Y. started hers.  Both had passed through a doorway into a life they could hardly imagine. 

    After our meeting Y., looking at her smartphone’s dictionary, asked me: “Was that ‘conversion’?”  I assured her that it was.  A few hours later, Y. shared with our Focus Club her conversion story.   Many of you may know her as the same student who told the congregation at Trinity Baptist six months ago (photo top right) that she was “on a quest.”  We are now working with Y. to find a church home where she can grow and be baptized. 

    Two days later Y. joined eight people at our home for Thanksgiving dinner (photo top middle).  Only two others were Christians.  When I asked people to share what they were thankful for, Y. responded first - “Conversion,” she said!  Others said they were thankful for Focus Club.  In her card, a non-Christian student said this: “I never expected I would go to Focus Club and meet so many kind people there before I came to Canada.  You are the best guidance for us not only for Christianity but life….” 

    Looking at Y’s journey and at words like this, we are bursting with thanks.  We also give thanks for your prayers and support.  For what are you Thanks-Giving this year? 

    I’m so thankful for Amy!  The wood of her table top, around which dozens of students have prayed, worshiped, wept and (oh yes!) eaten, now has this wonderful piece of art (photo top right) on it.  When the table was accidentally burned by hot dishes, Marissa, Amy’s housemate, drew this picture and a Scripture - 1 Cor. 13:4-6.  Using the very burn marks as part of her art, Marissa “redeemed” the table top and reversed the results of the accident.  The same thing has often happened, in a spiritual sense, in their home.  The very disappointments and wounds students have suffered have, by God’s patient loving ministry through Amy and her housemates, been redeemed by the love described in these verses.  As this redeemed table top reminds us, God’s love gives the mourning heart “beauty for ashes” (Is. 61:3).  Where there is God’s love, beauty arises from burn marks.

    But now the table top, along with Amy’s furniture and other belongings, has been given away as she has left us to be married in Japan on Nov 29.  Our farewell/appreciation time with her (photo bottom left) reminded us of how much she means to us and to the ministry.  Gifts from God are to be always cherished yet never clung to.  Goodbyes at the airport (see Amy’s - photo bottom right), though hard, are a necessary part of closing one chapter and beginning another.  We will miss her!  God’s love through her has brought beauty for ashes to many international students.

    PRAISE God for… (1) Y.’s conversion! (2) lots of new students joining us (numbers are up about 50% from last year) and (3) new volunteers who have come alongside us.

    PRAY for… (1) students like D. and J. who are close to embracing Jesus, (2) L. and X. as they are back in China, along with others there, (3) our “Conversation Café” each Thursday - that God would use it to impact more students and (4) my trip to China in May 2015 - click here for info and to help: https://www.ismc.ca/project.aspx?asset=124. 

    Thanks for your prayers!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • “Being a scholar I need more critical thinking and a mirror, while being a man I need an infinite and a father…. [but] ...finally I think I don't want to lose the chance to gain the relationship with [a] father, God the Father.”

    These words were in an email I received last week from a PhD student in moral philosophy.  Y. was at UBC on a one year exchange program.  In the next part of the email Y. told me he wanted to be baptized before returning to China.   Although he had come to Focus Club often and we had met many times over that period, this still came as a wonderful surprise!  Y. had a gift for asking questions, some the “classics” we’re all familiar with but some perhaps unique to a philosopher.  From the start I assured him that I didn’t have all the answers but that we would seek them together.  Y. also had other Christian friends who walked with and prayed for him. 

    The next day we met and it was clear that Y. was now ready.  So in a simple but moving prayer he gave his life to Jesus.  Two days later, last Friday, he shared his story at Focus Club (above).  Sad to say goodbye but encouraged by this testimony of God’s grace, we prayed for Y. and then had this photo taken (above) for Y. to remember us by. 

    Y.’s desire was to be baptized on Sunday as his plane was leaving the next day.  Now things don’t normally move that fast!  But as I thought of the Ethiopian’s question to Philip (Acts 8:36b), I realized that God could clear all obstacles if this is what He wanted. The first door had already been opened: Y. regularly attended a local church and had met with the pastor several times to talk about his questions.  Other potential barriers were also removed and so, this past Sunday, with joy expressed in heaven and echoed on earth, Y. was baptized (photo above).  Before going into the water, he shared with the congregation (first photo) how and why he had come to the point of saying, as that eager believer did long ago, “What prevents me from being baptized?”

  • Her voice began to tremble. Then she had to turn away as the tears started.  Y., a Masters student from China, was explaining to us two weeks ago what Focus Club meant to her.  Several hours earlier as we sat having coffee, Y. had shared with me something very hard that she was going through.   During previous discussions, we had talked of her questions about Scripture and her uncertainties regarding the vocational decisions that faced her.  But this was different.  Seeing an experienced teacher and public speaker display such emotion emphasized how strongly she felt about what she had just said.  Y. had been speaking of her recent struggles and of how she had found Focus Club to be a safe place to share them and to receive prayer and encouragement. 

    A few minutes earlier she and her team had painted a poster which displayed visually what Focus Club meant to them.  As you can see from the photo above, Focus Club was for them a doorway between two realities.  Before entering, they had struggled with such issues as loneliness and lack of meaning.   Moving through the door has brought them into a place characterized by love and joy.  And it’s not insignificant that friends and food are on this list as well!  Of course we all know that ultimately the door is not Focus Club but Jesus whose grace is experienced there.

    As with most students, many of whom have given their lives to Christ, Y.’s deepest connection to us (and to God) is not the answers we give but the loving family we provide.  This photo in the middle shows her with some of that family a few minutes after she finished her talk.  Tears now replaced with a smile, Y. brings others to Focus Club, sharing with them “What Focus Club means to me.”

    One week after this happened we were blessed by a great turnout to start the new term!  Despite the driving rain during UBC’s “Imagine Day,” a time in which new students learn about campus clubs by visiting their booths, we had almost 40 new students come to Focus Club last week.  The result was an evening of good food, new friends, worship (bottom photo) and a time during which we got to know one another.  Amy (same photo: on the right in the front), one of our leaders of whom I have written here before, shared her testimony.  It was funny and relevant to the new students’ lives.  But most of all, Amy’s story was powerful in the way that it told of God’s strength and love expressed in and through a small group of Christians who loved her and prayed for her.  Hearing of the difficult and exhausting time she had gone through recently, I asked Amy before dinner if she was OK to speak that night.  She assured me that God would help her. God indeed did so. 

    We have seen it in the gentle tears of Y., the honest seeker.  And we have seen it in the miracle-filled story of Amy, the veteran leader.  Wherever we turn, students are discovering and cherishing a place amongst the followers or Jesus on campus.  A place, not of perfect people nor of all the answers.  But a family where they can be safe, can be heard, can belong and, most of all, can meet God.  That’s what Focus Club means to them.

    Update - Thanksgiving!

    Praise God - Thanksgiving has come early this year! Yesterday my financial support reached the 90% level.  As a result I will not be moving into full-time fundraising off-campus but will be able to continue working amongst the students and leaders.  Thank you all so much, especially those of you who have recently become financial partners with me or who have increased your support!  The last 10% which will take me to full support is within sight.  Last week I was speaking with the chair of my support group.  We realized that if each person who supports me would increase their giving by 10%, I would effectively reach that final goal.  In response to this, most of that group has decided to increase their giving in this way.  I am humbled and grateful for people like them - and like you.  Please pray and continue to respond as God guides you.

    PRAISE God for… (1) students like Y. who are finding in Focus Club a place of belonging where they find Jesus (2) lots of new students joining us and (3) reaching 90% support level.         

    PRAY for… (1) students like L., D. and J. who are close to embracing Jesus, (2) X. as she is now back in China, that she would continue to seek God (3) God to raise up other leaders as Amy prepares to leave Canada to enter married life and (4) Clubs Days on Sept 16-18 - that the students we interact with might join us. Thanks so much for your prayers; together we are seeing God change lives!

  • Most posts are put together with at least some forethought, planning and wordsmithing.  Not this one...

    When I saw Grace's post on Facebook, I had to pass it on.

    Grace, part of our UBC Focus Club, gave her life to Christ and was baptised last year.  Her story, as recorded in the latest printing of our ISMC New Testament pictured above, speaks for itself. 

    She's not only expressing thanks to the Author, she's challenging us to let our stories speak, to allow our lights to shine.

    Really, what more is there to say?

  • “...I want to be a disciple....”

    Despite the noise of students running and jumping around us, A.’s words, quiet yet with a firm conviction, seemed to ring out as they moved from her heart to heaven’s rejoicing angels.  The time was last Friday just before our Focus Club meeting at UBC.  The place was the courtyard of the Student Union Building, which had been until a few moments earlier a sanctuary of silence on a noisy campus.  Until, that is, a group of students burst excitedly through the doors and began practicing what must have been some kind of dance routine.  But A. continued to pray, undeterred, perhaps even unaware, as she expressed her heart’s desire to give her life to Jesus.  As Alice and I listened, we recognized our great privilege to be midwives at this new birth into God’s family.  For over a year, A. had seen something in Alice, one of our Focus Club leaders, that drew her to Jesus.  Now she was expressing with her words what she had come to believe in her heart.

    Two hours after her prayer, the photo above shows a joyful A. with about forty of her Focus Club friends, many of whom were now sisters and brothers in Christ!  A. is a baby Christian, learning fast and sharing with others the story of her new birth.  It’s natural for a baby Christian to be thinking about baptism.  A. has been talking about it.  And yesterday we had the privilege of seeing two people of our community experience it.  Ethan (right) and Yusuke were baptized at Trinity Baptist, one of our supporting churches in Vancouver. 

    Y., the student I wrote about in last month’s newsletter, gave a very moving story during the service about her “quest” toward Jesus and how she has found in Focus Club a “safe place” to ask her questions and share her doubts.  It was a joy for me to share through the sermon what God is doing amongst international students.  And then we celebrated together with Ethan and Yusuke their new birth into God’s forever family. 

    Births, babies and baptisms...new life in Christ is bursting forth all around us!  And a new shared life is in store for Yusuke as he and Amy, one of our key leaders, are married in his home country of Japan in November.  Amy was the first person God led us to at UBC as we saw Him build the foundation for the UBC Focus Club two and half years ago.  We will greatly miss her and the amazing ministry that God has given her among us but we know that God has birthed this relationship with Yusuke.  And as we have seen it grow we are full of expectancy that God will continue to bring forth new life within and through their life together in the years to come!

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    Financial Support Update and Prayer Request:

    As those of you who receive my newsletter may, in June I spoke about my financial support needs, the first time I have done so in a newsletter.  (If you’d like to receive one via email on a monthly basis, please contact me at john@ismca.ca).  As I mentioned then, these newsletters are about the students and the ministry and the response I value the most is your prayers.  However I need to say that although things have improved I am still not at the 90% monthly support level I require.  Should this goal not be reached by the end of next month, I will move into full-time support raising work, off-campus, until it is.  At present I am about $500 per month short of this goal.  I would much prefer of course to be working with students and volunteers but the present situation is not sustainable.  I am grateful to all of you for your prayers and to many of you for your financial giving!  Please pray with me as I move toward this goal and please respond as God leads you.

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    PRAISE God for… (1) A’s new birth, (2) the baptisms of Ethan and Yusuke, (3) those like Y. who are on a “quest” that we know is directed by God’s Spirit and (4) new Ph.D. students from China who are very open to God

    PRAY for… (1) students like Y., L., D. and X. who are close to embracing Jesus, (2) X. as she moves back to China in two weeks, (3) my financial support and (4) God to raise up other leaders as Amy prepares to leave Canada to enter married life.

    Thanks so much for your prayers; together we are seeing God change lives!

     

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