How students in New Zealand support student mission around the world
The toastie. A humble and simple hot toasted sandwich snack, beloved by students all over the world. In Lincoln, New Zealand, selling a variety of toasties has been a key evangelistic strategy for many years for the IFES group, TSCF’s Lincoln University Christian Fellowship.
Serving the students in Lincoln
Hundreds of Lincoln University students live on campus in halls of residence. Each Wednesday night is pub night, when a local pub makes alcoholic drinks cheap. There is a strong drinking culture in Lincoln and for years the Christian students have served the campus by selling toasties to drunk students on the way back to halls from the pubs. The university likes it, providing ingredients for free as well as designing a new campus café around the needs of toasties.
Selling toasties is an opportunity to sober students up a bit, as well as give away tracts and talk about Jesus. Every week students in various states of inebriation ask: ‘Are you paid to do this?’ and each week the answer is: ‘No. We’re the Christian Fellowship and we do this as an expression of the love and care Jesus has for you.’
Sharing the profits
Although the price of the toasties is minimal, it has generated a profit over time of several thousand dollars. It’s been a joy to see how generous and gospel-minded TSCF Lincoln students have been with this money.
Profits have been used to:
- Fund students from newer TSCF groups to be part of the Bible training camp, because of the desire to invest in newer student mission.
- Support the IFES groups in Fiji, because of a strong desire to help students across the Pacific to hear about Jesus.
- Provide food for TSCF Lincoln Wednesday lunches to be welcoming to all on campus to eat and examine the biblical claims of Jesus.
The toastie is just a small snack. Yet in the hands of TSCF Lincoln students it’s not only been an evangelistic tool, but also an opportunity to raise funds and use them for IFES work in several contexts. I thank God for seeing such gospel generosity amongst these students.
Get a flavor of Lincoln toasties in this short video:
It’s not just students in Lincoln who are partnering with other IFES movements. Each year groups across New Zealand think up creative ways to raise money for the IFES pledge. For many years now, TSCF groups have been supporting four other IFES movements around the world: PSFC in Fiji and Tonga, CECE in Ecuador, and UESI in India.
At the South Pacific Regional Conference (SPARC) in 2016, hosted here in New Zealand, we were fortunate enough to meet a few of the students and staff from PSCF and CECE. The students shared a bit more about their countries, culture and campus fellowships, with encouraging stories of how God has been at work in their student ministries. We were able to see and hear first-hand how the money raised had gone into changing the lives of students overseas.
It was a joy to continue to cultivate and deepen our relationship with brothers and sisters from different nationalities.
Students work to raise their pledges in many innovative ways. Auckland Overseas Christian Fellowship recently held a Soirée as their annual IFES fundraiser. The TSCF groups at Otago University joined together to design, print and sell hoodies, with the proceeds supporting IFES groups around the world. There are plans to do this again to support students from across the Pacific to get to the next SPARC regional conference in 2018.
This year at our national student gathering, we continued our tradition of having an auction of various Ecuadorian items, brought over by Ruth Hicks from TSCF, who is currently working with the IFES movement there. From vibrant scarves and coffee beans, to national sport shirts; staff and students alike clamoured (good-naturedly) to take home the Latin American specialties. All the proceeds went to help the students and staff from CECE Ecuador. The sheer generosity of those in that room was astounding, it was clear that contributing to the overseas work was foremost in people’s hearts.
Seeing the love displayed through generosity that students have for their brothers and sisters in Christ, even beyond the shores of New Zealand, is a testimony of God’s grace bringing unity to all nations. For these students, giving to IFES is not a chore but a joy, and a cause with eternal significance.
Written by Tim Hodge, Jenny Huang and Michael Bresler, TSCF New Zealand.
- Do you have partnerships with other IFES movements that you could develop? Or could you start a new one?
- How could you support another IFES movement? Could you consider gathering an annual pledge to another IFES movement?
Join in World Student Day
World Student Day is a great time to start and develop these international connections. How about planning to regularly pray for the same movement and connect by video call?