Neighbours loving neighbours: collaborating across borders

Oct 20
Posted by Penny Vinden (20 Oct 2016)

Friday 21 October is a big day for the IFES family. It’s World Student Day! Around the globe, students, staff and friends of IFES gather to celebrate what God is doing in schools and universities, and to lift up in prayer the needs of the IFES family.

This year’s theme is Love your neighbour. So today we are focusing on two groups from neighbouring countries who have laid aside the troubled history of their nations to come together in Christ to love and serve their fellow students. These two neighbours are Compa Mexico and InterVarsity/USA.

Early in 2016, a group of 18 staff and students from these two IFES movements began to plan a project to serve students at the Autonomous University of Querétaro (UAQ) in central Mexico. Together they prepared an intensive course in English conversation.

It was not easy finding a place to meet. In the end it was students themselves who came to the rescue – the university’s Federation of Students saw the relevance of the project for the entire student community and got the space where the course was held.

It was also difficult adjusting to the changes God wanted to make in their strategies and long-held plans during June and July. But God’s way brought good results: about 25 students enrolled in the course, were taught English and also heard about the true God who transforms lives.

After classes, time sharing meals helped deepen friendships with the students, who eagerly attended further talks on themes such as friendship and success from a biblical perspective.

Monica, a local staff worker was thrilled with the results. ‘The best thing for me was to see God act: COMPA and InterVarsity formed a united group that demonstrated an attitude of service and humility, love and friendship. God also encouraged the students involved in the project to have more commitment to mission.

‘And the students really loved the project, they asked if we would do it again, saying “We would like you to do this again, because we want to recommend it to our friends.”’

Ashanti, a small group leader with Compa at UAQ, felt as if she was the one who was learning during the course. ‘During the three weeks, practicing and learning English became secondary to love, service and giving of oneself. In the end, we were blessed, challenged and motivated. I learned how to love my fellow students in a simple, sincere and selfless way.

‘This semester, we started a small group in my school and my greatest desire is to be able, with small acts of love, to bring people closer to Christ, just like the students from InterVarsity did in the English course.’

Please pray for these kind of collaborations between IFES movements to result in transformation in the lives of both Christian and non-Christian students.

And please join all of us in prayer on World Student Day. Don’t forget to look at all the resources we have gathered for you online.

To follow how studens are celebrating the day, join the Facebook event.

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About Penny Vinden

Penny is a former member of the IFES Global Communications team.

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