Political Turmoil and the Anchor of God’s Word

Students in Hong Kong are reeling from the political upheaval of the past few years. There has been violent protest, the establishment of the National Security Law in 2020, and a crisis caused by a fifth Covid wave. FES, the student movement in Hong Kong, believe in an anchor, nonetheless. God’s Word gives stability to the lost, and strength to the powerless.

For three days over the end of 2021, FES students came together to study the book of Ecclesiastes. The theme was ‘Lying Flat under the Sun’ – a saying that expresses despondency, lack of motivation and lack of faith in change. It was an opportunity for students to process the sense of powerlessness they had in the changing political and social environment.

As well Bible study, students also did workshops where they could process their frustrations in the light of God’s Word through dramas, literature and puzzles. There was even a ‘feast of tabernacles’ on the last night – as Ecclesiastes was traditionally read during the Feast of Tabernacles, students experienced Scripture in a new way by decorating their own tents.

What was it about Ecclesiastes that could give the students hope? In the book, the author resolves to enjoy what God has given, even while he recognises his powerlessness to control the injustices around him. There is ‘a time for everything’, he declares, and this enables him to wait for God’s timing. Students had permission to bring their struggles to a sovereign God. Billy, a student who attended camp, explains that ‘some disappointing news was waiting for us on the second day – a pro-democracy media company had been shut down. As Hongkongers, what should we feel? Could we even identify our thoughts and feelings after everything that has happened? The ‘Lying Flat under the Sun’ concept gave us an ironic response to this absurd world. It challenged us to put down our anxieties and worries, believing that God is in control, and allowing ourselves to enjoy the simple things in our lives.’

Students relished the opportunity to study Scripture in depth with space to share their struggles. It gave them a chance to exercise and refresh their faith, that in God’s timing, their efforts and prayers will have an impact. Knowing that his purposes will be accomplished gave them freedom to rest in him and enjoy what he has already given. ‘When we acknowledge life is a precious gift from God, we trust that he guides us’, explains Billy.

‘The social atmosphere in Hong Kong remains low and depressing. Yet, God has promised us that he will return in glory. Thus, we will not worry about Hong Kong – but wait patiently for redemption in God’s time. We don’t know when that will be – so during this time, let’s live in the moment God has given, and put our faith in him.

‘Christians in Hong Kong are sometimes too scared to step forward. We need to start discussing how and when, and to what extent we should speak out. Nonetheless, recent events have inspired and enlightened Hongkongers no longer to only care about their individual needs. More citizens are aware of injustice and poverty, and are willing to provide a helping hand and take action.

‘We pray for courage and wisdom. Taking a stance may sometimes be difficult in Hong Kong. We pray that we will have the courage to speak for the Lord when we encounter things that are contradictory to his will.’

Please pray with us for the students of FES Hong Kong:

  • Pray that they will trust that God has a time for everything, whatever the circumstances.
  • Pray that they will remember that God is sovereign, that they will enjoy his gifts to them.
  • Pray that they will continue to have a hunger to study God’s Word, drawing from it strength and comfort.
  • Pray for God to be glorified and his kingdom to come, even amidst a still-changing political context, and the challenges caused by Covid-19.

Cake, KFC, and King Jesus

Christmas. Respun and reinterpreted through so many global and ideological perspectives, it’s a funny thing. There are some who venerate church tradition, viewing it as a time of ritual and contemplation. Some let its celebration pass them by, as an extra-Biblical carnival of human origin, removed from the historical detail of Jesus’ life. Some wholly embrace the light-hearted appeal of lights, gifts, food, and not much else. Christmas is characterised by a curious mixture of deity and human culture, fittingly enough for the celebration which specifically invites us to ‘veiled in flesh the Godhead see’.  

The celebration of Christmas in December is a cultural tradition originating in the West (and, indeed, Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate on an entirely different date). The popular explanation for marking 25 December is the Christianising of a Roman celebration of December winter solstice; the early term ‘yule’ also derives from Germanic and Anglo-Saxon terms referring to winter solstice. Other evidence suggests that the celebration of Jesus’ birth on 25 December derives from the dating of his miraculous conception to 25 March, also the perceived date of the beginning of creation, and incidentally the Spring Equinox, which also connotes new life. Whichever is the true explanation, the association with the ‘spring’ equinox and the ‘winter’ solstice emphasise that the celebration of Christmas on 25 December has decidedly Northern Hemisphere origins.  

For the students of the IFES fellowship around the world, the nuances surrounding Christmas abound. It may not be an easy time of year for many, and in some ways Christmas illustrates the challenges faced in student ministry. An interesting Christmas case study is the dynamic culture of Japan. Developed and prosperous, it has little historic Christianised cultural influence, unlike many parts of the IFES fellowship. In fact, Japanese culture does not recognise the same linear boundaries between different religious beliefs and none as many other parts of the world do. The majority of people self-identify as nonreligious, in the sense that they reject religious belief that appears to be abnormal or excessive, without meaning that they don’t participate in religious activities.  

For a holiday so deeply rooted in Western tradition and identity, and yet ever deeper rooted in the infinite mysteries of Emmanuel, God with us, a reality for all nations, what is it like to be a Christian student in Japan at Christmas time? We hear from Arisa, a student with KGK, the IFES-affiliated student movement in Japan, her reflections on navigating the cultural complexities surrounding Christmas in Japan. 

‘I feel like people are using Christmas wrong’ 

Arisa admits that she struggles with the lack of reference to Jesus in Christmas imagery in Japan. While Santa, reindeer and snowmen are abundant, there is nothing else.  Rather than referencing the light that was coming into the world, the Word become flesh, Christmas is seen as a time to simply spread happiness – and indulge in traditions that may seem unconventional elsewhere. A wildly successful 1970s advertising campaign, for instance, ensured that eating KFC fried chicken has become a popular tradition.  

Arisa tells us that ‘some people use the Christmas season as a sexual opportunity’. Indeed, Christmas Eve is seen as a time for couples in many ways, much as Valentine’s Day might be elsewhere. And Arisa sees a general self-absorption fall over people at Christmas, which ‘should be a time of humility. I’m sad that people are using Christmas to crown themselves’.  

Let them eat cake  

Arisa can see the goodness in a Japanese Christmas, too. It lifts her spirits to see people who aren’t Christians celebrating. People enjoy eating cake, which is a big part of the Christmas celebration in Japan, and spending time with family and friends. Although they are in some ways ‘crowning themselves’, and not acknowledging Christmas as the celebration of Jesus’ birth, they are joyful. Arisa identifies this as God’s mercy and common grace – that even though people are not celebrating Jesus, God gives them blessings to enjoy at the Christmas season.  

This does not simply apply in Japan. These traditions that have developed in this place, from cultural influences removed from the deeply-rooted Christian past heritage of Europe, may seem at first glance a little more removed from Biblical realities, from the Christmas imperative ‘come, let us adore him’. But are they really? Around the world, isn’t Christmas always mixed with human cultural rituals? Even in the hearts of individual Christians, there will always be a Romans 7 tension between worship and more worldly concerns. And we will never be able to escape the powerful influence of the cultural ideas with which we have been nurtured. 

Oh come, let us adore him 

Arisa astutely resolves this tension. She shows that the differences that matter aren’t the ones between different cultural perspectives on Christmas, even between cultures that have more religious traditions, and those where Christ is almost entirely absent from Christmas. She points out that everywhere, regardless of cultural context, Christmas isn’t really the point – Jesus is. Cutting through the complexities of culture, the dichotomy that really matters is between using Christmas to seek after Jesus for yourself, beholding, seeing, adoring, trusting, and hoping, or passing him by to seek after your happiness your own way, without reference to him.  

It’s a choice we all must make, a choice irrelevant to cultural context. Choosing to either crown yourself, or crown King Jesus, is not a Japanese issue, but a human issue. And Arisa goes on to point out that while Christmas demands this choice of us, it also marks the same threshold in a different way. Christmas bridges the darkness, which speaks loud and clear of the sinfulness of humanity and the need for salvation, ‘and the bright side is that God sent his Son to save us, because he loves us.’  

Wherever we come from, and whatever the world around us wants to spend their Christmas doing, let’s come to Bethlehem again, ‘joyful and triumphant’. 

It started with two

Jonathan and Soen knelt in the corner of a little room. Their heads were bowed. Their hands were folded. Tears wet their eyes as they passionately prayed to God.

Both were Indonesian students studying in Australia. They had met at the Overseas Christian Fellowship Convention at the Melbourne Bible Institute. There they experienced student ministry like never before. It made them realize Indonesia’s great need for something similar.

Now it was time to return home. The two prayed that God would use them for Indonesia in whatever way he wanted – maybe even to start a student ministry. The year was 1963.

8 years later, in 1971, Perkantas was officially registered as a movement. But it is important to remember that their story began much earlier, with the faith of two young men who offered themselves to God’s service.

In July, Perkantas celebrated their 50th anniversary. A movement that began with two people was celebrated by a combined 1400 people over Zoom or livestreaming the event. A special webinar was included in this multi-day celebration of speeches, prayers, TikTok competitions, original songs from students, and encouragements from the nearby movements in South Korea and Australia. The webinar covered the tendency for Christian movements to decline after their first 50 years. Perkantas knows that now is not the time to become complacent. In fact, leading up to the celebration, they spent fifty days in prayer. They gave God credit for how far they had come and asked for his guidance over the next 50 years.

Now they ask for your prayers. Join us this week in praying for this movement which seeks to be a blessing to the nations.

  • Thank God for the growth of Perkantas over the past 50 years. Pray that they stay faithful to the vision on which they were founded.  
  • Pray that this movement would be protected from the common factors that lead many Christian organizations to decline after the first 50 years. Pray that they would continue growing, learning, and serving God for many more years to come. 
  • Pray for Perkantas as they prepare to host World Assembly in 2023. 
  • Pray for the pioneers around the world who are currently breaking ground on new movements. Pray that 50 years from now they will be able to look back with thankfulness just like Perkantas.  

Reaching Gen Z

Since less than 3% of Mongolians claim faith in Jesus, YouTube stars Jason and Jayel are out of the ordinary. The young couple shot to fame after their dance group (called “116” after Romans 1:16) performed on Mongolia’s Got Talent in 2018. Since then, they have continued to openly share their faith on YouTube, making vlogs that encourage healthy habits and friendships and even uploading a hugely popular video of their Christian wedding.  

With 285,000 subscribers on YouTube, the couple’s success was most striking to FCS Mongolia because their audience falls within the pivotal age group of 16-20 years old. When the world shifted online during the pandemic, it was Youtubers like Jason and Jayel who continued to be an influence when many other human contacts were cut off. As FCS Mongolia considered how their groups could continue to evangelize online, they realized that working with this couple could extend their reach. Since an FCS staff member attended the same church as Jason and Jayel, the movement was easily able to connect with them to discuss what a partnership could look like. 

Jason and Jayel were elated to get involved. With FCS Mongolia, they created the very first “Time of Youth” Zoom event, emceed by FCS students. The event featured a game and a question and answer session with the YouTube stars. Jason and Jayel also shared openly about their faith and its impact on their lives. A staff member with FCS said that their talk opened the door for the gospel.  

“When we shared the gospel after that, most students were open to listening. For some, it was the first time they had heard the gospel. In all, we reached more students through these events compared to physical meetings. Students even asked more about [the couple’s] Christian faith during the open question and answer time. During the group time and after the event ended, some newcomers even openly asked about how they could join our movement.”  

After questioning how they could reach students during the pandemic, staff say by God’s grace this event helped “keep the torch of evangelism burning.” 

“Through this event, we saw that God is still actively working through this movement and we thank God that our mission of reaching students is still up and running.” 

Jason and Jayel continue to have a heart for students in their country and have agreed to a more long-term partnership with FCS Mongolia. Pray with us this week for the future of this movement and the hearts of students they long to reach.  

  • Pray that over the next semester, FCS will be able to follow up with the new students who attended the event. 
  • Pray that God will raise up a new generation of staff within the next two years who would be able to engage Gen Z students. Most of the Christian population is female in Mongolia, so pray that more male staff members would join in order to reach and disciple more male students.  
  • Pray for the publishing ministry of FCS, that they would be able to translate and publish good books that would bless the Mongolian church.  
  • FCS is pioneering a new group in the Western province of Mongolia. Pray that the ministry there will be firmly established. Pray also for a good building that will be sustainable to use as an office and student center.  

Partnerships in East Asia

In the late 1990s, movements in East Asia were growing stronger and becoming more aware of needs beyond their own.  The Regional Secretary at the time, Ohtawa San, helped movements become more stable so that they could work together. In those years, partnership between movements in East Asia took off. Singapore began sending teams to pioneer an unnamed movement in the region and joined Malaysia in sending teams to Cambodia. Hong Kong worked to help Macau pioneer, and South Korea even raised the full support to place a missionary family in Mongolia in 1999.  

“By the late 2000s and into the early 2010s taking ownership for pioneering was a norm in our region. Our hunger was to see the kingdom of God established in the universities in countries that did not have them,” 

says Annette Arulrajah, Regional Secretary, East Asia. 

In 2010 Malaysia was asked to walk alongside Timor Leste as they strategized and developed their ministry. They began with regular visits to build contacts and train leadership, financing the entire project. Eventually Malaysia sent two staff workers to permanently live in Timor Leste to provide support. Now they continue to partner through resources, prayer, trainings, pastoral care and finances. 

In Timor Leste there are many obstacles to evangelical ministry. But with encouragement from Malaysia, the movement presses on, with many wins along the way. Staff from Timor Leste write of a student, D, who has wrestled with  cultural traditions and Christ. As he journeyed through the book of Luke, he has been able to come to grips with faith and decided to initiate a Bible study with his friends. 

The movement stays encouraged by stories like these. With the help of Malaysia and the grace of God, they will continue to share hope with students. As staff workers from Timor Leste say, 

“We are in this together. In this ministry we can continue to encourage each other through partnership. We remember Paul’s ministry when he said that although we are different parts of the body, we are one in Christ. That’s like us. We are different movements but we’re all IFES.” 

When it’s hard to go home

Each year, the Lunar New Year is a highly anticipated celebration for students in, and from, many countries in East Asia. It means big meals, family gatherings, streets lined in red, the pop of fireworks, and a rest from classes.  

This year, the relief from studying is long awaited by students in a high security, unnamed country. Universities have compensated for COVID-19 disruptions in the academic schedule, by continuing classes through breaks. This means that many students have not had a substantial holiday since last spring. Many of these students have not seen their families in months due to strict campus lockdowns. The Lunar New Year break is extremely overdue. 

But going home is a challenge for Christian students returning to non-believing families. Since the definition of success in this country focuses on material security, non-believing family are confused by students who spend time pursuing a “non-practical and irrational faith.” Other students will face pressures from parents who worry that there will be no one to offer up incense for them after they die. Lunar New Year dinners may create stressful conversations between students and relatives who do not understand. It often takes a few years of humble and prayerful witnessing before families are willing to accept their new beliefs or even come to faith themselves. 

With Lunar New Year underway, pray with us for students in this movement.

  • Pray that students will have patience with non-Christian family members who question their life choices. Pray that they will remain a steady witness for Jesus, especially when tensions arise.  
  • Pray that God will give groups and leaders courage and wisdom to know how to continue their ministry in the middle of a pandemic and increasing persecution. 
  • Pray that students will remain strong in their faith, even if they cannot meet in person. Pray that they will be motivated to stay in contact with their groups and leaders, even though it is online.

Lunar new year

How your gift this Lunar New Year will keep students connected and equipped

“Shammah, are you there? I can’t hear you anymore.”   

Shammah’s online conversations always went like this. She watched the faces on her screen turn to blocks of color and then disappear entirely. Her heart fell with every frustrated hit of the refresh button. 

This wasn’t going to work. When her university closed due to the pandemic, Shammah had to go home. But the internet at her parent’s house wasn’t stable enough to join her weekly online IVCF Philippines meetings or to continue her coursework online. She felt cut off from the world.  

Longing for connection  

Shammah wasn’t the only one. Many other students had scattered during the pandemic and suffered from unreliable internet access in their family homes. This situation did not sit well with IVCF graduates and staff, who understood the importance of continuing ministry even in a tumultuous time. They formed a plan to get the students back online.   

The group organized a livestreamed music festival to raise money to purchase data packages for students with poor internet. One thousand people attended the event which featured the musical talents of students and shared a message of God’s truth. Between the fundraiser and money pooled from graduates, IVCF covered the costs for Shammah and many other students to purchase a generous amount of internet data.   

With a strong internet connection, Shammah was able to attend the annual Discipleship-Leadership Training Camp, a week-long program that trained her to disciple other students. As a result, Shammah became better equipped to reach the university for Christ.   

Students reaching students  

This is the essence of IFES: empowering students to reach students. The graduates and students in this story took action because they personally understood the urgent need to reach the university, even in a pandemic.   

This Lunar New Year, that need is still urgent. As the pandemic lingers on, students in East Asia like Shammah need to stay connected virtually to groups, events, and training over the next year. They need data for that connection, but many can’t afford it on their own. In this auspicious season of giving, will you donate to our East Asia mobile data student access fund

Your gift will invest in students who will multiply your gifts by using their initiative and imagination to reach more students. You also support staff members who will continue to mentor and disciple students into leadership roles. You become a vital part of the process by which IFES empowers students to reach students. 

As the world changes, your support is more important than ever to ensure that student ministry adapts. Please help students like Shammah flourish in the new ministry environment by giving to IFES today.  

Empowering the next generation,

Anita Stephen
Supporter Relations Manager (Asia)

Your gift to IFES will make sure students like Shammah stay connected to a fellowship group and keep growing in this ever-changing ministry environment.

On a journey of wonder

The Journey 

Environmental justice is a complicated web. One small consumer choice has both human and non-human impacts  in places near and far. It can feel impossible to tackle the issue. But Prarthini Selveindran, an FES ministry staff worker in Singapore, believes it is best to approach it as a journey. 

Prarthini lives in Singapore, a city-state filled with lush gardens and skyscrapers bordering green parks and blue water. Despite the city-state’s dazzling surroundings, residents are removed from nature. Their seemingly natural setting is curated to combine beauty with organization. For this reason, Prarthini says the wonders of God’s creation are often overlooked.  

Prarthini is passionate about helping students develop that sense of wonder as the first step of their creation care journey. She invites them to “moving classrooms,” organized in partnership with Friends of A Rocha Singapore, which take participants into nature for workshops, gardening, and food tours. She also challenges students to search Scripture for evidence of creation care. The topic is dear to her since her own FES leaders encouraged her to wrestle with the issue whilst attending university. She shares a Bible passage that has influenced her own journey. 

“Psalm 104 is a text that has shaped much of my reflection on how we are to be within the created order, and how we can relate within the created order. It’s got to do with these big themes of interconnectedness and delight both in what God has created and realigning our perspective to view the world through a theocentric lens. It’s important because we live in a broken but beautiful world. Caring for creation is about making sense of how to live within that.” 

Inviting others along 

Now she has passed her fervor to two university students who have begun journeys of their own. Dennis Tan and Rebecca Goh say that discussing creation care in their FES groups has given them a new perspective for caring for others. And they want to invite more people along. 

Working with students from multiple universities, the two have started an Instagram account to generate creation care content. They post suggestions about sustainable living, facts about the environment, and discussion topics. 

As they encourage other students to think more about creation care, Dennis and Rebecca recognize the immensity of the matter. Rather than viewing it as a burden, they have learned three ways to view caring for creation as a feasible part of everyday life. 

1. Wonder  

Dennis says to look up. Literally. Lift your eyes from your screen and look outside. He says that when we slow down and spend time in nature, we begin to wonder at what God has created. And when we wonder at something, we want to take care of it.  

Rebecca adds that wonder isn’t hard, but it requires slowing down.  

“Wonder begins simply by paying attention to things we usually don’t pay attention to. I think technology helps us speed up and be more efficient, but sometimes slowing down helps us to be in awe and wonder of God’s world. 

Dennis adds that finding opportunities for wonder can be simple. 

 “Start exploring the natural areas around you like parks or nature trails. Even just looking up from our books to look outside the window [helps us to] see God’s hand in the skies and the greenery around.” 

2. Make small decisions 

It is easy to feel paralyzed when making sustainable consumer decisions. But Rebecca and Dennis advise students not to get ahead of themselves. Rebecca says that students can begin their journey with small practical steps. 

“To begin, use a reusable water bottle and reusable shopping bags. When you’re comfortable with those changes, make larger changes. Share these goals with your friends so that you can be accountable to one another.”  

Dennis says that students have a unique opportunity to naturally consume less because they typically have less money to spend. He recommends making a budget to be a responsible steward of both your money and the environment.  

“I think it really makes me think hard about where all my money is going. I’m privileged to not have to worry about money all the time, but it shocks me sometimes to see how much of my money is going to food, or non-essential expenses, and in turn, how much I’m consuming! It makes me think hard about the next time I want to buy something new, and whether it is faithful to God’s precepts to live a simple lifestyle.” 

3. Learn 

Rebecca says that it is important to stay curious. She advises students to pursue an array of perspectives on the issue and to examine the scriptural evidence for themselves. She recommends beginning the journey with the following resources: 

  1. A Rocha’s blog. A Rocha is a Christian charity that equips Christians to care for the environment. 
  1. Chapter 4 of John Stott’s The Radical Disciple 
  1. Prarthini has also written a book which shares stories of creation care in the context of Malaysia and Singapore.  

As students pursue more information, Dennis emphasizes that they look for perspectives from their own context. He suggests that students find local articles on sustainable living rather than following advice from other countries which may not be as applicable. 

Perfection is Impossible 

As you begin your own creation care journey, Rebecca and Dennis want you to know that perfection is impossible.  

“We don’t try to save the world,” Rebecca says, “but we have hope for Christ and the new creation. That is our hope. It brings comfort. Because the things of this world will decay.” 

Rather than adding to a Christian to-do list, the students hope that sharing about creation care will inspire a paradigm shift in others. She says it’s not about making perfect decisions. 

“It is about being mindful of our day-to-day lifestyle choices and what should motivate that. Ultimately, we want to think less of ourselves and more of others.”  

What can you do to develop a sense of wonder for God’s creation in your own context? What are small ways that you can change your habits to care for others by caring for creation? 

Over the balcony

Linny’s spiritual life was complicated. Her family was Buddhist in name and somewhat in practice, but her father was fascinated with the moral teachings of Christianity. Although their family never prayed or went to church, he always emphasized Christian values. Linny could not completely identify with the Christian or Buddhist side of her upbringing, but she was satisfied being a mix of both. She had even coined a term for herself – “Chris-Bud.” 

But in university, her spiritual identity cracked. She moved in next to a girl called Karina who was a fully committed Christian. Their shared balcony led to hours of deep chats about spirituality. Karina challenged Linny’s beliefs with tough questions. Though their discussions disrupted her worldview, Linny says she is thankful that her friend did not let her stay that way. Linny remembers the day Karina asked a question that “triggered [her] to the bone.”  

She asked, “Why are you doing good?” Linny did not know how to answer. After Karina went back to her room, Linny reflected. What is the meaning of my life? What am I doing here? Why am I doing good? Why should I? What’s the point?  Linny elaborates in her own words below. 

“Days after that, I started asking my friends at my campus about their meaning of life. Some were interesting, but also temporary and unsatisfying. A few were shocking. But one of them answered that his meaning to life was to glorify God. He told me that Jesus had died on the cross and given us eternal life. He was doing good as a response to Jesus’ love and kindness. I was bewildered! It didn’t make any sense. After I got home, I asked Karina the same question. She answered similarly. After that day, my curiosity about Jesus and Christianity burned. I began searching.” 

Linny began reading the Bible, joining her local Perkantas group, and attending Sunday services. Over time, her search turned into a deep love for Jesus. 

“It was like I was going deeper and deeper in Him mysteriously. Somehow, I found my meaning of life in Jesus. The more I learn, I believe He is the one who found me and not the other way around.” 

This week let’s rejoice over God’s work in Linny’s life. Let’s also pray for students around the world who hold syncretistic beliefs combining Christianity with other religions.  

  • Pray that they would find friends like Karina who will lovingly ask tough questions about their beliefs. 
  • Pray that Christian students would boldly pursue deep conversations about faith.  
  • Pray that Christian students would also grow in their knowledge of Scripture to be able to confidently explain their reasons for belief. 

An empowering heritage

After 67 years, Dr. Gloria Casabal still remembers the excitement of finding her faith in university. After all, she was one of the original students to attend the first ever IVCF Philippines Bible study with pioneer worker Gwen Wong. Through studying the Bible with Gwen, her faith matured into a lifestyle that would carry her through the highs and lows of life.  All these years later, Gloria has watched the world change in many ways. Yet, she always found security in God’s ability to remain constant. She had also witnessed the church continue to share hope no matter the circumstance.

Since their lives were so impacted by Gwen’s mentorship, Gloria and her husband Vic have wanted to use their own gifts to empower students. Since graduating, they have given faithfully to the movement. Their donations are normally used for bills, rentals, camps, and staff salary. But with summer events cancelled due to the pandemic, the money would have been unused this year. Instead the couple approved an initiative to make home-made face shields for police and other people on the front line.

With funding from the Casabals, staff, students, and graduates in Cebu City made face shields using foam and thin plastic. Their initiative was so well-received that others wanted to help. When an IVCFP alumni group in the USA saw the Facebook posts, they provided funds so that the work expanded to three other islands in the region.

The Casabals are a beautiful example of the way IFES graduates and supporters can empower current students. Thanks to their ongoing commitment to this national movement, this project allowed IVCF to share hope despite difficult circumstances. This week let’s praise God for graduates like the Casabals. Let’s praise God for the projects that offer hope to communities. Let’s also ask God for his protection over countries like the Philippines, which have been hit hard by the virus.

  • Thank God for the impact that this practical act of service by students and staff has had in Cebu City and beyond and pray for other community initiatives created by IVCF. The National Office Staff are also helping to cook and deliver meals to the homeless in Manila.
  • Thank God for the Casabals and other faithful supporters who enable ministry to continue.
  • Pray for students who continue to be affected by poor internet connection and low budget for Wi-Fi.
  • Pray for the secondary students who attended the online National Leadership Summit in July.