I currently work with International students at the University of Calgary and with Undergraduate students at Olds college in Olds, AB, and have been co-directing an InterVarsity ministry internship this year.
Please read on for a bunch of reasons this has been one of the most rewarding years of my 16 years with InterVarsity…
A large part of my role this year has been to co-direct a ministry internship and as part of this to live in community with and mentor three interns, alongside my colleague Austin (picture of us in lights). I have absolutely loved living with this group of people. Plus, I can’t live with people who are 20 years younger than I am and not a) remember my age and b) be humbled and c) laugh a lot, all of which are all really good things!! Together with other colleagues, friends, my small group and church family I have found extraordinary encouragement, companionship, support and family, and I am so grateful.
I thrive on working in team. For this reason the previous year was a heard one because I was alone with no Christian students to partner with as I continued to plant ministry to international students at the University of Calgary. This year, both Alejandra who originates from Mexico and Laura whose home is Edmonton have been reaching out with me and investing deeply in the lives of both graduate students, undergrad and exchange students. There has been so much good fruit from their individual gifts and partnership, creating a sense of fun and friendship among both new and returning international students and generous space for conversations and studies about Jesus.
Students Catching the Vision
Many of my prayers around the ministry at Olds College have begun to be answered. Our leadership team began to catch the vision for both better discipleship through small groups for bible study and also for reaching out to their friends. they spent the year hosting event after event; their love of line dancing, for instance, first in the residence board room and then in the larger alumni centre, became a draw for many to enter into their community. And many of the leaders are taking seriously the call to share their lives and the reasons for their hope with their non-Christian friends and classmates.
So… because of the gits and individualities of our team working with internationals, we have more diversity than ever in our International Friendship group community! This year, we threw our first ever Nowruz party because we had a contingent of Iranian grad students ready to celebrate the spring and their new year traditions with us. Iranians and Pakistanis, Nepali and Ethiopian, Singaporean and Chinese, Vietnamese, Columbian, Ecuadorian, Venezuelan-Canadian and Mexican have all been in the mix this year. Not only are they super keen to be together, with many friendships deepening among them independent of us, but also several of them have been very eager to investigate Jesus through attending Urbana, studying Scripture with us, and coming to our MarkWest Camp. Thanks be to God!
Markwest Camp, April 28 – May 4 This is my 7th year teaching the gospel of Mark at our annual May Mark Camp for students, and every year I find more joy in teaching (ok, maybe there is some kind of latent teaching gift in there???) and more expectation at what the Holy Spirit will do when a bunch of people put themselves at his disposal as they read God’s word. This year I am teaching the second half of the gospel of Mark together with my colleague Hogan and intern Laura, and we are excited for the 15 students in our group to be impacted by the call to be first by being servant of all and taking up their cross, just as Jesus did.
We also have two international students from Calgary joining us, one of whom is a hungry non-believer from a Muslim country and another who is early on in her walk with God. Let me know if you’d like to make a donation toward the scholarships we are giving to help them be able to come.
New global partnership
Seeing and being part of what God is doing with students around the world is one of my great joys. This year, I have been invited to co-direct a missions partnership with my colleague Austin to a location in Eurasia with a tiny population of followers of Jesus and an increasingly hostile political and religious environment.
The team of students we are taking is small, but we are excited for the chance to come alongside the local staff and students there in reaching out to their peers with the message of life in Christ. So June 9-July 10 we will be partnering with our sister organization in reaching out to students in two cities in their country through the sharing of cultural, language, worldview and value/faith systems. As part of this, I will need to raise an additional $4700 for myself and am also helping our one international student to get funded as well, so if you would consider giving toward this or hear more of her story, please contact me!
I am praising God for the wonderful way that he has provided for the expanding ministry opportunities that have existed this year both in Calgary and Olds, AB. thanks to the many who continue to partner with me! I will, however, be looking for new partners for the next year, so stay tuned for more info on that.
–EURASIA partnership–June 9-July 10. Pray for good communication and partnership with our local hosts, and a spirit of humility, learning and encouragement for our students and theirs. Also safety, health, teamwork, preparations and fundraising.
–INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP GROUP, as we will largely be forced to take a break over the summer due to travels and holidays. Pray for that times of connection will be especially meaningful, and for those who will join our the InterVarsity Summer Study to continue to grow in their curiosity about Jesus.
–OLDS COLLEGE LEADERSHIP TEAM, as we begin planning over the summer for September. Pray for new ideas and hearts oriented toward following and serving Jesus.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
1 International Blvd Toronto, ON M9W 6H3
LOVE all the up-dates, Sara. Thanks for the work you put into them. It draws you in closer to us all here in SW Ontario. Love you.