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A Gift and New Friends

April 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

“We met our student on her porch. She was very thankful for the care package and so friendly and talkative. She was so open to sharing her feelings and struggles in Canada, even on our first meeting.” – Care Package Volunteer

A year ago, as the ISMC London team was trying to figure out how to facilitate relationships between volunteers and international students in this new and strange COVID culture, we asked God to provide creative ideas. The answer came in the form of a Facebook message with a suggestion: care packages for international students.

It seemed like a great idea, but could we make it happen? The logistics would include fundraising, volunteer recruitment, buying supplies, and two Zoom training sessions for care package volunteers, along with a new website where international students in London, ON could sign up for a care package.

A month later, a small group of volunteers spent the morning assembling 100 care packages that contained, among other things, a snack from the student’s country of origin and a taste of Canada.

We encouraged the volunteers delivering the care packages to follow COVID protocols, to spend a few minutes getting to know the student and to ask if they could stay in touch. We also encouraged volunteers to ask if they could pray a blessing for the student. A volunteer shared that this was the first time she had prayed aloud for a person in their presence, and it was the best experience of her life!

We have heard from many students how much they appreciated the gift and meeting a new friend. Many had texted or messaged to say thank you before their volunteer had even arrived home!

Some volunteers who are new to ministering to international students have been amazed at how easy it is to connect with a student. They have stayed in touch, often with socially distanced visits. Many have had deep and meaningful spiritual conversations, mostly initiated by the students themselves.

ISMC London is delivering more care packages this month. Please pray for our international students and the volunteers who will connect with them. Learn more at LondonInternationalStudents.com

Stuart Smith
City Director, ISMC London