Canada: Engineering a resilient faith 

“Sometimes I feel really vulnerable – like Nehemiah rebuilding the wall. He faced criticism and attacks from his enemies. But he didn’t give up. He kept going. I’ve been so encouraged by our small group Bible studies about this faithful “project engineer”.” 

Charlotte, a project manager in civil engineering, and a handful of other students meet together at Polytechnique Montréal. They’re part of Groupes Bibliques Universitaires et Collégiaux du Canada (GBUC), the French-speaking IFES movement in Canada. But meeting together isn’t easy. Official student associations of a religious nature are not permitted on campus. So, they gather as a Book Club – to read and discuss the world’s bestseller: the Bible. 

Gaëlle, a doctoral student, was also struck by the way God spoke through his Word into her situation: 
“This was the first time I read Nehemiah in depth. I saw that he was a great engineer, a great visionary – someone who knew how to make the most of his assets. But, above all, he put God first. I was touched by this story, especially as an international student. For, we are here as foreigners, and we also need to have some projects – to go back to our countries, to rebuild, to celebrate together with our own people.” 

The Bible studies have also helped the students grow in their experience of God’s enabling. Like all IFES movements, GBUC champions student-led groups, so the Polytechnique students take it in turns to lead the studies. Samuel, a student in information engineering, had never led a Bible study before, but he says it was very positive:  

“Just preparing the study was enjoyable. But when I led it, I realised how it wasn’t so much me leading as the Lord – he was able, through me, to give what was needed. We all left the study with something new, with hearts refreshed, with hope.” 

Today’s group is an answer to a prayer offered 10 years ago: “Lord, do something on our campus”. A few international students had come to study at the Polytechnique. Since it lacked a GBUC presence at the time, they attended a group at the University of Montreal. Amazed by what the Lord was doing there, they prayed for their own – and a term later started the little “Book Club”.    

With the strict secular atmosphere and their demanding workloads, this group may still feel small and vulnerable. But the Lord is continuing to “do something”: through fellowship in the Word, these engineers are building a resilient faith. 

Let’s pray for these students in Canada – and others like them: 

  • Thank the Lord for the Book Club at Polytechnique Montréal – for the way he is speaking through scripture and for the graduates and students who faithfully attend and invite their peers. 
  • Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help: for creativity as they look to serve and interact with a strictly secular campus; for resilience as they carry a heavy workload, especially the international students facing further challenges of finance and immigration. 
  • Pray for students like Charlotte, Gaëlle, and Samuel in IFES movements all around the world – that they will experience God’s enabling as they lead small group Bible studies, and hear God speak into their situations. 
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