Finding Community in a Crisis

The idea of an event being “churchy” is not enticing to some students in Jamaica, a country where church has become a normal part of society. Though students have a genuine openness to the gospel, some may view Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship (ISCF) events as just another religious box to tick. However, pandemic restrictions are causing many students to realise the importance of community and spiritual growth. Because of this, students are using technology creatively to stay in touch and challenge each other spiritually. Stephen, a student, says that his ISCF group has been sending prayers to each other via voice messages and using online chat groups to do Bible studies. He writes,

“I have learnt through this period that we have the ability to increase our relationship with God with just the touch of our fingers [through technology]. With the distractions of the world, such as school or work, we always found reasons not to do so. But now that those distractions are gone, we have no reason not to use technology for God’s glory.”

Since daily life has been transformed by restrictions, online groups are also a place where students can feel comfortable to process. Chelsea writes:

“One reason that has encouraged me to stay online and in touch with the ISCF is for support. I’m not really one for letting people in and letting them know my emotions, but in the ISCF it’s different. I get to freely talk about God and communicate with others that share my beliefs. I feel support from everyone here. And I’m glad that others feel the same.” 

The events of the pandemic are also causing students to ponder what really matters. Debonae explains,

“The coronavirus has opened my eyes to the coming of the Lord and how he is pushing us to be saved so that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

As this pandemic may be an opportunity to draw students closer together in community, lets pray for the IFES movement in Jamaica.

  • Pray for leaders to arise among staff, teachers, and students to help build communities where students can mature in their faith.
  • Pray for students to see the value in being part of a community of faith and to find creative ways to connect with each other.
  • Pray that the community created during the pandemic will continue after restrictions are lifted.

When the doors of the university are closed

Student worker Descheny drives to the GBEUH Haiti office with a heavy heart. Burned cars, broken windows and smoking tyres line the highway. These are the worst protests the country has seen in thirty years. Neither the people, nor the President they are protesting against, are willing to back down. The doors of the universities are closed and campus fellowship meetings have had to stop.

Many of the students of GBEUH, the IFES movement in Haiti, believe that they have an active role to play as Christian citizens. But taking to the streets is increasingly dangerous. Concerned for their studies and for their country, GBEUH students are turning to prayer, even if it is only through virtual meetings on WhatsApp.

Descheny explained why:

“The entire population is facing the wind of discouragement, despair and insecurity. But what encourages and strengthens us is our faith in Jesus, the Nazarene, who knows how to calm storms and give peace.”

  • Pray for the strengthening of GBEUH students, staff and Board members to remain prayerful and dependent on God at this difficult time.
  • Pray for pastoral wisdom for Descheny as he seeks to encourage and support the students.
  • Pray for political and social stability in Haiti.

Thanks for praying with us!

Monique faces challenges in breaking new ground

It’s part of a tiny island in the Caribbean. One of the smallest dots on a world map. You might never have heard of it, but Sint Maarten needs your prayers.

Monique is now working to pioneer a new IFES movement in Sint Maarten. She’s partnering with the IFES movement in nearby Suriname, and is being supported by the IFES pioneering project Breaking New Ground.

It is not an easy task. Monique has spoken to five schools already, none of which have been willing to let her start a fellowship group. The university in Sint Maarten is small and most programs are only two years, so there is little student continuity.

It would be easy to get discouraged and feel alone in the face of these challenges. But this week Monique is not alone. She’s joining 30 others at the Breaking New Ground gathering in Canada. The young pioneers will be learning more about how to plant new groups and will have the chance to share their struggles and best practices.

Join us in praying for Monique and for the gathering this week:

  • Pray that Monique would find someone on the island who is keen to pray with her and think about how to pioneer a new student movement.
  • Pray that Monique and the others at the Breaking New Ground gathering would be encouraged by their time together and equipped to start indigenous groups around the world.

Taking the gospel to schools in Bartica

You probably wouldn’t choose to move to Bartica. The small mining town in Guyana struggles with problems of human trafficking, unemployment, alcoholism and substance abuse.  

But that hasn’t put off Steve. This month, Steve is starting work there to pioneer IS/IVCF ministry because he wants every young person to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. 

Having grown up in the area, he knows the challenges that lie ahead, spiritually and practically. There are seven schools on the mainland and a few more in smaller nearby river communities. These schools can be reached only by a boat – and the boat only goes once a week. 

But God-willing, a healthy schools ministry will, in time, enable ministry at the university level to flourish as well. 

Join us in praying for Steve and the work in Bartica: 

  • Praise God for providing Steve to start this work and for the support of local pastors and headteachers. 
  • Pray for wisdom for Steve as he explores ministry opportunities in the seven schools. 
  • Pray that many children would come to trust in Jesus, and that through them, whole families and communities can meet Jesus and be transformed by the gospel. 

Thanks for praying with us!

How it all began

They stood together on the stage: the pioneers of new movements alongside those who had supported them. It was a beautiful picture of gospel partnership. How had it all begun? We listened to our brothers and sisters tell their stories of struggle and sacrifice. We listened to their triumphs and tragedies. We listened to them speak of the faithfulness of a God who had used them in their weakness. We listened as tears ran down our faces. 

13 movements affiliated to IFES at World Assembly 2019. Read on to find out how student work began in three of them. 

SONOKO Cambodia 


Two former students of KGK Japan arrived in Cambodia. The country and its people still wore the scars of the devastating civil war years of the 1970s. The two graduates were praying that God would start a student movement in this beautiful, broken land. Through setbacks and trials, the movement slowly began to grow. In 2012, the first full-time local staff worker was appointed, Chamroeun. He was a young man with a deep love for His people and a passion to see Jesus known in the university. He was preparing to become the first general secretary of the movement. 

But it was not to be. Chamroeun died in a tragic accident, going home to glory in 2017. The movement was, once more, on its knees. Why, God? Must we endure even more pain and heartache? For the staff and students, these were dark days. 

Though the pain of Chamroeun’s death is still raw, those involved with SONOKO Cambodia testify to God’s comfort and faithfulness through this tragedy. They have not stopped speaking of the hope they have in Jesus. A hope that goes beyond the grave. 

There are currently around 40 students involved in the movement, with groups in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, and plans to pioneer a group in a third city. 

IS/IVCF Cayman Islands 

There was no student work at all happening when Tomy and Brianna arrived back in Brianna’s homeland, the Cayman Islands. But God was at work. Tomy was welcomed warmly by the local churches. They were more than willing to work together to see Christian fellowships established in schools and universities across the country. Tomy spent time meeting up with local Christians, sharing his plans to pioneer. An evangelical student movement? Yes, that sounds familiar! Time after time he found himself meeting with graduates who had been involved themselves with other IFES movements while studying overseas – in Jamaica, the Philippines, Barbados, Guyana, the US! 

Seeds which had been planted years before, many miles away, were now bearing fruit in this unexpected way. Thanks to the support of these IFES graduates and local churches, the movement grew quickly. Today it is working in one university and six secondary schools. 

MFES Myanmar 

MFES Myanmar affiliated to IFES at World Assembly in 2019. But it was not an easy journey to get to that point. Former IFES South Asia Regional Secretary KP, had been looking for opportunities to start a student movement in Myanmar for some time. He planned to meet a local Christian worker, Sawm Thang, at World Assembly 2015 in Mexico, to discuss starting a new ministry. Sadly, KP passed away just before World Assembly. Sawm travelled to Mexico anyway hoping that he would find somebody else to talk with regarding the pioneering plans. But he was denied entry at immigration and was detained for two weeks, without any way of contacting his family. 

Remarkably, Sawm did not lose his vision for student ministry. On his return, he met regularly with students to pray for their country and to study the Bible. Momentum grew. Howard Spencer, one of the IFES governance development trainers, provided training for potential board members. The movement was formally established in October 2016. 

Today there are around 120 students involved in MFES in three regions.