Thank you for joining with us over the past year in prayer for students around the world – your support is appreciated in all IFES national movements. As we begin 2023, it is a wonderful opportunity to look back at how God has been working through our prayers.
Juliette and Joseph from TSCF Papua New Guinea: the God with something to say
In July, we prayed for students in Papua New Guinea who attended the Bible Summit, working together through the theme “Wounds of the Heart and the Hope of the Psalms”. Juliette and Joseph, ministry interns with TSCF, the IFES movement in PNG, share how prayers have been powerfully answered as the movement increasingly focuses on God’s Word:
“The topic exposed people to deep issues that they never realised the Bible addresses. Especially when students shared their own laments, it formed a deeper bond than an ‘exciting event’ would have. Many students have seen for the first time how the cross of Jesus calls us to follow him to glory through suffering.”
The movement has grown stronger. Since the Summit, more students have been drawn into the ministry, seeing depth and sensitivity rather than superficiality. Recognising the power and value of God’s Word, many have joined small group Bible studies, with new students coming regularly and inviting their friends. Older students and graduates who have seen the impact are investing their time in the ministry, through Bible studies and mentoring. The younger generation, seeing this change, are connecting more deeply with their faith. These have been amazing answers to our prayers.
Please continue to pray for what God is doing among students in Papua New Guinea. Pray that new Bible studies and one-to-ones would begin on more campuses, and that more ministry interns like Juliette and Joseph would be trained. Pray with Juliette and Joseph that “Biblical evangelism would call students to Biblical discipleship.”
Tasia and Brandon from InterVarsity Canada: the God who keeps giving rest
Last January, we prayed for Tasia and the group in Ottawa with InterVarsity, the English-speaking student movement in Canada. Tasia shared how God brought her through spiritually and emotionally difficult times.
Since then, Tasia has seen God’s grace in new ways, although not without new struggles. The same verse that God used before (Matthew 11:28) has deepened in richness and significance for her. “I was quite sick for a few months”, she explains, and after “weeks of trying to remain independent, I realized I needed family help. The more I leaned on others the more I could get better, although I can’t believe how hard it was for me to be honest about what I could handle. God has placed people to support me. Here, I can find God’s rest.”
“We’ve noticed greater excitement in a slowly more post-COVID life”, says Brandon, Tasia’s staff worker. “We are forming community through Bible studies, worship nights, and lots of other collaborative events” with student groups in Ottawa. Although many “still struggle with anxiety and depression, they are learning how to be social again.
“Pray we learn to be courageous again in forming community with those who come to seek out Jesus, not just those we are already comfortable with. Continue to pray for creativity as students figure out how to reach out to their friends, and for increased compassion in listening and loving the people on campus.”
If you’d like to find out more about the student group at the University of Ottawa, you can find their Facebook page here.
Delia and Mike from OSCER Romania: the God who brings community
This year we prayed for postgraduate student Delia, who fought hard to establish a new group in Cluj after moving there to pursue a master’s degree. Mike, a staff worker with OSCER, the student movement in Romania, recently visited Cluj and reports that they need encouragement to reach out to friends; he asks that we join “in praying for this small group of students to build a strong community that would be attractive for their friends to join as well.”
To keep up with the group in Cluj you can find their Facebook page here.
David from Koinonia Cuba: the God who welcomes little children
In March we prayed for the Sancti Spíritus group from Koinonia, the student movement in Cuba. They visited a children’s home to show the love of Jesus to its residents. David, General Secretary of Koinonia, shares that “the group from Sancti Spíritus have not visited again because of COVID-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, we have kept in touch, and we have prayed for them all this time. Our group in Havana have managed to go to a children’s home in their city. Thanks to the Lord, new doors have been opened to us in that city.”
Let’s pray that in both Havana and Sancti Spíritus God would open doors for Koinonia students to continue making a difference in these children’s lives.
GBEEC Cameroon: The God who wins hearts
In March we also prayed for students from GBEEC, the IFES movement in Cameroon and the impact of their evangelism at the Africa Cup of Nations. GBEEC member and evangelist, Guy Simo, subsequently invited new believers to the School of Practical Discipleship. He reports that some of the students they engaged with at the Cup of Nations continue to follow Jesus. However, as fellow evangelist and GBEEC member Magloire Tene shares, “the challenges are enormous”. They seek prayers for:
- More workers
- More fruit, with many people confessing Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord
- Necessary financial provision
- The encouragement of the Holy Spirit in the heart of every student who takes the initiative to share the gospel.
- The strengthening of new converts.
Alex from CEF Taiwan: The God who makes us secure in our work
Towards the middle of last year, many movements held camps and conferences to bring students together through Bible study. In September, Alex from CEF, the student movement in Taiwan, shared news about a camp that encouraged students to get real with God and with one another. Following this event, Alex asks us to pray for the staff team who, in their increasingly post-pandemic context, “are very excited to go back to the way of doing things they are accustomed to.” He asks us to “pray that our sense of security does not come from doing things the way we know how to do them, but from knowing that God reigns amid chaos. Please pray for revival in our staff team.”
Roula from LIVF Lebanon: The God with a good plan
At the end of 2022, we prayed for students in LIVF, the IFES movement in Lebanon, who shared an inspiring story of how they ran the Beirut Marathon to raise money for a local children’s home. Here is an update about their subsequent visit to Cedar Home to share the gifts they’d bought with those funds:
“It was a great time, praise God! We played a game and everyone introduced themselves, then we sang a Christmas song together and the kids chose an Arabic song called ‘Father God’. This was a very moving time, and meaningful for children who don’t have families. Afterwards, we acted out a scene about how God’s Word changes us from sorrow, fear, stress, greed, hate, and pride to joy, faith, peace, generosity, love, and humility. Our student Heba shared her story about how God has a good plan for each one of us; this was very touching, kids and students were in tears. We gave them the gifts and had a cake at the end.”
This is just a handful of the stories of God’s faithfulness that come to us from around the IFES fellowship. There are many to celebrate: those we highlighted in Prayerline and those we didn’t; those widely discussed and those barely known. God is always doing so much more than we realise. Thank you for your prayers, and please continue praying with us in 2023.
To connect with student stories worldwide:
- Follow @ifesworld and the regional teams on social media (@ifeslatina, @gbuaf, @ifeseurope, @ifescaribbean @ifesea)
- Pray with the whole global fellowship on the next World Student Day
- Listen to the Voices of IFES podcast