Regional consultations in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific

The Big Issues Project seeks to promote dialogue and theological engagement among faculty, students and IFES staff with the questions encountered in our universities. Over the past few months, we’ve brought together staff and faculty from different countries to share and learn together about the issues and questions facing Christians in their universities.

Here are some comments from participants to inspire your prayers this week. You can read more in-depth reflections on the consultations here and find out more about the project here.

English and Portuguese-speaking Africa (EPSA)

At the consultation in Tanzania, Grace Iyanda shared how NIFES Nigeria began identifying the need for research and development:

“Of course, we were doing all the things we should be doing: Bible studies, missions and all that. But despite those, many of the students were having deep problems […] so we sent out a circular, asking, ‘How much do you think NIFES is relevant?’ The answers came out: NIFES is good in Bible studies, but NIFES is not asking the real questions.

The students were grappling with adverse school policies. Some of them came from very difficult home backgrounds and they battled to see God as being a loving God. They had these underlying problems that prevented them from following God as they should. […] So the management decided that it was time to […] pattern our training models after their needs.”

It was clear at the consultation that ‘big issues’ are part and parcel of campus ministry. Along with providing new ideas, the consultation served as a sounding board and focal point for existing issues at the grassroots.

  • Praise God for the prompt from students that led to the NIFES Research, Development, and Publications unit and the School of Entrepreneurial Development to help students deal with issues like financial stability.

  • Pray for movements across EPSA as they seek to speak into issues of poverty, sexual immorality, corruption, and examination malpractice.

  • Pray for movements in Africa as issues of religious fundamentalism, tribalism, ethnicity and decolonisation affect their universities.

South Asia

The consultation in Sri Lanka, 12-14 November 2017, brought together South Asian faculty, research scholars and staff from seven countries.

One faculty member commented:

“This meeting made me realize the need to bridge the gap between spiritual and social issues; be an example in our own field of study and institute; address the issues and challenges faced by the society in general and the academia in particular by participating in dialogues. One conversation that stood out for me was the testimony of the participant from a sensitive country who despite being the only Christian faculty in her institute and at risk of discrimination and persecution is brave enough to witness her faith.”

  • Pray for faculty members witnessing to their faith in contexts where they risk discrimination and persecution.

  • Pray for the IFES Big Issues project as it seeks to support Christian faculty in their workplaces.

South Pacific

The consultation in Australia demonstrated the great value for networking and sharing ideas and resources between national movements. Given the geographic spread of the region and the great expense for travel within it, many participants feel isolated. One participant said,

“The real strength of the South Pacific consultation was [the] rare chance for significant relationship building between key leaders.”

  • Pray the relationships built up at the consultation will lead to sharing of ideas and resources within the region.

  • Pray that as different movements face different issues, there would be a sense of togetherness as they seek to engage with their universities in light of the gospel.

You can read more in-depth reflections on the consultations here and find out more about the project here.

Thanks for praying with us!

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