Population: 1.4 million (2012)
Capital: Port of Spain
Official language: English
Major religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam
IFES movement: Inter School and Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship (IS/IVCF)
Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island republic which was dubbed the ‘rainbow country’ by the visiting South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, because of its multi-ethnic population. The line, ‘every creed and race finds an equal place’ from the national anthem sums up well the attitude to people of different beliefs, including Christianity.
- 52 tertiary institutions which are open to establishing groups
- IVCF groups on 10 campuses
- 10 full-time, 1 part-time staff, many volunteers including board members
- graduates ministry is a work in progress
- high school ministry: 102 clubs, around 1600 students
- largest student group: 85
- smallest group: as few as 2 students
IS/IVCF rejoices that they have seen many graduates go on to work for other Caribbean IFES movements, for churches and for other Christian organisations. The current generation of students also have the desire to know Christ and see the kingdom of God advance on their campuses. There has been an increased awareness of mission, and trips with other Caribbean students to re-pioneering work in other islands have borne much fruit.
However, IS/IVCF still hope to see more student leaders taking the initiative to reach their peers with the gospel in innovative and relevant ways.
View from the inside
Helen Lewis is General Secretary of IS/IVCF. She speaks of her passion for student ministry: ‘I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of the movement’s presence at my high school. I know that God can use the movement to reach many like me who would otherwise not willingly enter a church. That is the reason for my continued involvement in the ministry and my excitement about the work.’
Helen’s ministry and vision have been inspired by many verses including 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, which begins with the words: ‘For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.’
- for the growth of the graduates’ ministry;
- for wisdom to deal with increasingly anti-Christian university administrations;
- for wisdom to establish chapters on campuses with challenging schedules;
- for students to be passionate about Scripture engagement and courageous in evangelism;
- for staff to continue to seek new ways of impassioning students about the gospel and mission.