A New Year message from Acting General Secretary Jamil Chabouh
As 2019 draws to a close, I want to thank you for the essential part you’re playing by partnering with IFES through prayer.
At the start of a new year, many of us decide to make resolutions – a new habit, a new hobby, a new routine. Whatever your resolutions for 2020 may be, I would love to encourage you to make another as well: to pray for IFES student ministry. This resolution will impact your life and the lives of many students around the world.
As we look ahead to 2020, there are three areas of ministry I would like to ask you to hold in prayer:
International student ministry (ISM)
I came to Christ as an international student, so I have experienced the transformative impact that time away from home can have on individuals. Today with record numbers of students now studying away from their home lands, we have a unique opportunity to reach the nations on our doorstep – and through them, whole communities in unreached corners of the world. Even the Islamic world has become more penetrable because of international student ministry.
I’d like to encourage you to commit to pray intentionally for one international student friend or one IFES movement’s international student outreach in 2020.
Pioneering student witness
Over the years, I have been excited to see God grow student ministry in my own ‘home’ region – the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). And looking more widely around the IFES world, I thank God for the progress made in pioneering new campuses and cities in 2019, often in extremely difficult places. It was a wonderful moment to hear stories of pioneering and to celebrate with the 13 national movements which affiliated to IFES this year at World Assembly. While looking back with thanks I also look ahead with anticipation, trusting that God will open new doors for us to reach the still vast numbers of unreached communities across the student world. Please pray that while pioneering continues, God will also equip us to ensure that the newly-pioneered groups are supported and start to thrive as well-established groups.
Engaging the university
At IFES, we want to see disciples of Jesus authentically engaging in all aspects of campus life and conversations, so that the message of the gospel reaches and transforms every part of the university. This is not just the role of the student. Pray that in 2020 God would raise up Christian PhD students and faculty in each university to act as an IFES satellite, helping and guiding the students in the local context. They are well placed to help students engage with the big global questions and challenges of the day: political instability, climate change, corruption, social justice, to name but a few.
I would also ask for your prayers for the ongoing recruitment process for the next IFES General Secretary, and for God’s guidance and equipping in the meantime.
Please accept my thanks again for your partnership, and best wishes for a peaceful New Year. May the Lord continue to use you, wherever you are, for His glory.
IFES Acting General Secretary
Help us reach the students of 2020
IFES students the world over are living for Jesus in increasingly difficult contexts. To celebrate these students, IFES commissioned a South African artist to tell eight student stories through art. Each artwork is made from discarded plastic – a beautiful illustration of the way Christ has redeemed each of these students and fashioned them for a new purpose of making Jesus known in today’s universities.
Read their stories and find out how you can help us reach this generation of students