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From Angola to China

Visiting international students on the other side of the world

Frederico was doing what he could. But he was 10,000km away from the Angolan students living in China. Frederico’s focus had always been on the universities in his own country. But he realised that there was a huge number of Angolans studying in China, and he wanted to do more to support them. Encouraging them through social media was better than nothing, but he longed to meet with them in person!

So with support from the IFES Breaking New Ground project, Frederico and another GBECA staff worker, Mariano, started planning a trip to visit a small group of Angolan students in China.

But it was not to be a straightforward journey…

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Unexpected hurdles

Frederico and Mariano missed their first flight because their visas hadn’t come through in time. On their second attempt, they had to first drive from Angola to Windhoek in Namibia to catch the flight. But their car broke down on the journey and had to be towed all the way — almost 600km — all through the night. They missed the flight again.

They returned to Angola, determined to try a third time. It would have been tempting to give up the dream, but Frederico reflected:

“There were many missionaries who gave their lives so that we could be saved by Christ. Even if God wants to save only one student using us, it would be worth going through all this.”

Their third attempt was successful, and soon they were face to face with the students, telling the story of their eventful journey to be there. The students were moved by the effort they’d gone to — and by the love of God for them. The group of around 30 students spent five days with Frederico and Mariano, looking at the Bible, praying and enjoying fellowship over meals. Some professed faith for the first time; for others it was a significant time of discipleship and growth. The group was encouraged to hear about the worldwide IFES fellowship and know that they are part of something much bigger.

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Investing in the future

Since that trip, the Angolan students have continued to meet together and the group has grown as they’ve drawn in others from the pool of 100 or so Angolan students on their campus. The students are hungry for good Bible teaching and are eager to learn how to tell their friends about Jesus. Frederico is still discipling them from afar and hopes to return to see them again soon.

Two of the student leaders reflected on the impact of the visit:

“It helped to strengthen us all. We experienced many amazing transformations in our walk with God — in our perspective of life here, purpose, relationships. Some have even seen God transform and restore family members back in Angola through our testimonies.

It is a particularly strategic group of students to be investing in. Several of them will return to key leadership positions in the church, in education and in Angolan society. Not only that, but there are more than 500,000 Chinese people living and working in Angola today. God-willing, these international students will return equipped and envisioned to reach out to them.

Photo by Rohan Reddy on Unsplash

Respond

Are there students from your national movement studying overseas? Are they thriving spiritually, or just surviving? How could you encourage them this year?

The trip to visit these Angolan students in China was supported by the IFES Breaking New Ground project. This was one of 67 grants awarded in 2018 to help pioneer new groups in unreached campuses, cities and countries around the world. Read more stories from Breaking New Ground here.

Give today to help us support more projects like this to reach more students with the gospel.

IFES is now accepting applications for Round 5 of funding, which will close on Thursday 28 February. Email bng@ifesworld.org to apply or visit our website to find out more.

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