You can empower student movements around the world
When you give to IFES, you are giving to vital initiatives that support and train students and staff to make a difference for the kingdom, offering opportunities movements would not be able to deliver on their own. IFES ministry teams implement these and other initiatives in tailored ways to meet local needs.
Challenging Norms in English and Portuguese-Speaking Africa
Listen to Akin’s story
“I don’t think I can keep going on like this, Akin. Life isn’t worth it!”
Akin’s heart pounded in his chest as the call ended abruptly. He fumbled to dial another number, his fingers sweaty and clumsy.
“Dara? You there? Listen, we don’t have much time. Ema is standing at the river right now. She is thinking of taking her life. How fast can you get to her?”
“I’ll leave right now,”Dara replied.
Ema’s life was saved that day, but Akin realized that something needed to change. After Ema’s near suicide, Akin felt compelled to sign up for a NIFES Nigeria training course on mental health. Many students like Ema struggled under the weight of past childhood trauma, poverty, and dysfunctional families, but the course equipped staff workers like Akin with the tools to help students deal with their trauma in healthy ways. The course was so useful that Akin organized his own mental health training for his local students and staff.
Little did he know that in a matter of weeks, COVID-19 would sweep through Nigeria and exacerbate the many mental health issues already so prominent in the country. The timing was providential. After moving his course online, Akin was able to share what he had learned with students and staff.
The course was also an opportunity to reach non-Christian students who were desperate to learn ways to cope through the lockdown. Akin was able to pass along biblically based practices to empower others to deal with the pandemic in a healthy way and to challenge a major problem in society.
For Ema, Engaging the University changed her life, making it possible for the mental health training to happen. After some time of healing, she had her own opportunity to participate in Akin’s mental health course. This not only helped her deal with her own past but empowered her to help others with similar struggles. IFES staff worldwide are equipping students like Ema and staff like Akin to find redemptive ways to deal with societal issues like mental illness.
This year, due to the impacts of COVID-19, many national movements are facing new challenges. The ministry needs among students are intense, as they grapple with the academic, emotional, and financial implications of the pandemic. The support provided by IFES is therefore critical in 2020 to ensure that student ministry can continue, adapt, and flourish in the new environment.
WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN ENSURE THAT EVEN NOW, EVERY AKIN HAS WHAT THEY NEED TO REACH EVERY EMA.
Creating Connection in Ireland
Listen to Michael’s story
When Michael opened his eyes, a feeling of dread washed over him. I am alone, he thought. He sat up in bed and looked around his room. His head was so heavy. Sleeping helped him forget the long days that stretched before him. Having limited social interactions caused him to sink into loneliness. As a result, he spent his free time wrestling with big questions. What is the point of life? Is there something greater out there? One day, a buzz from his phone changed everything. It was his friend, Emily.
Want to watch a film tonight?
Emily had sent Michael an invitation for a weekly online film club organized by the CUI Ireland group at their university. By sharing their screens, the group watched a film together and discussed the themes afterward. Though Michael had little regard for religious things, he supposed that this group would be a good way to connect with others. The first time he attended, he was surprised to discover how discussing a film easily turned into discussing the big questions of life.
Thus, through a dimly lit screen in a messy apartment, Michael found community. Online ministry has been crucial for reaching lonely and isolated students in Europe during the 2020 pandemic. Students and staff have been creative with outreach, using the internet as a gateway for desperately needed community.
For students like Michael, IFES support for evangelism projects has been especially significant. After making friends with CUI students and staff through the film club, Michael was open to joining a new Bible study. His friends led him through Uncover Mark, a gospel study developed by UCCF Great Britain. After some time studying scripture, he made a personal commitment to follow Jesus. Thanks to IFES, Uncover gospels have been translated into almost 30 different languages, and representatives from many different movements around the world have been trained in how to use them. Stories like Michael’s have multiplied around the globe.
This sharing of, and training in, resource use is a major aspect of the ministry of IFES Europe and the other IFES regional teams. By standing with them, your support for IFES multiplies the ministry impact of staff and students working to reach campuses around the world for Christ.
Life-Changing Relationships in Eurasia
Listen to Anna’s story
Anna’s fists hit the table, rattling the entire café. Tears stung her eyes as she choked out the words, “When will I be enough?”
She looked up slowly, expecting the same lecture she had heard since childhood.
Control yourself, Anna. That’s too much, Anna. You will never measure up, Anna.
Instead the eyes across the table were also filled with tears.
“Anna, do you know how precious you are in the sight of Jesus?”
Anna didn’t know what to say. Ever since she had met Sofia, she was constantly surprised. As much as she tried to push her away, this woman remained a steadfast piece of her life. The most consistent part of their meetings was Sofia’s gentle reminders of Jesus’ love. Anna had dismissed her stories about Jesus at first. But the more time Anna spent with Sofia, the more she wondered if there was something special about him after all.
Sofia was an IFES national movement staff worker in a sensitive country in Eurasia. Through her friendship, Anna eventually came to follow Jesus. Sofia continued to invest in Anna and encouraged her natural leadership abilities. As a result, Anna began to reach out to other students who were also desperate to know a saviour.
Ministries like Sofia’s are crucial to developing Eurasian students who will become leaders within their IFES movements. The IFES Eurasia regional team serves thousands of students like Anna by supporting the ministries of over a hundred staff like Sofia across the region. When you give to IFES, students like Anna and staff like Sophia benefit from the training, resources, grants, and programs that these initiatives provide to movements.
Developing Leaders in Latin America
Listen to Karen’s story
“We are going to lose an entire generation of leaders.”
The words hung in the air. Heitor watched Karen’s face freeze for a moment on the Zoom screen. He held his breath, hoping that the internet connection would remain stable. He let out a sigh when her mouth started moving again.
“We can’t let that happen,” he said. “ABUB Brazil thrives on student leadership. With all our training conferences cancelled, there will be an entire year of students who are not equipped to lead the next generation.”
Heitor’s mind wandered to Marcia, a passionate third-year student who showed all the qualities of a leader. Since she started university, she was always so eager to serve. She regularly attended ABUB meetings and even began her own Bible study with non-believing friends. Since many of the trainings were reserved for older students, she had eagerly waited two years to attend. Heitor was saddened that she might lose this opportunity.
However, with creativity, lots of prayer, and the power of the internet, the ABUB leadership team pioneered a new course. They created a four week online Missionary Formación Course that would meet the same objectives as the former trainings – but in a way that would empower students to be leaders in a post-COVID context. As a result, students like Marcia were equipped to confidently carry on the work of ABUB into the next generation.
Ministries like Heitor’s and Karen’s are crucial to developing Latin American students like Marcia who will become leaders within their movements. When you give to IFES, you are giving to vital initiatives that support and train students and staff to make a difference for the kingdom, offering opportunities movements would not be able to deliver on their own.
The leadership development initiative was especially significant for Heitor and Karen. They had received prior training and inspiration at events like EFO, a Latin American staff training conference. When faced with the immediate need to adapt their student leadership training in light of COVID-19, they had the confidence and the ideas that they needed to adjust. As a result of Heitor and Karen’s dedication to continuing these leadership initiatives in Brazil, they could in turn equip Marcia with the tools to take her student Bible study online during the lockdown.
IFES Latin America provides this kind of support for dozens of staff just like Heitor and Karen, who serve thousands of students like Marcia in twenty countries around the region. Your gift today to IFES Latin America will empower movements like ABUB to adapt their ministry in their ever-changing contexts.
In these changing times, IFES students and staff are pushing forward – continuing their mission to reach students for the gospel. Your gift today will empower these movements to adapt ministry to their ever-changing contexts. Would you make a gift to IFES to help us support staff and students who are reaching their campuses for the gospel?