Students who become Christians in Canada can change the culture, history, and life of their home countries. They will be the seed and light of God’s kingdom.
But when these students accept the Lord outside their home country and return, many leave their faith, unable to reconcile a Canadian experience of Christianity with what they find at home. Kana’s story shows how hard it is to connect to a local faith community.
If we equip them well, international students will not only survive but thrive when they return to their country, connected to the local faith community and empowered to impact their world for Jesus Christ.
How do we equip returning Christians to thrive? We have found it crucial to start equipping students for their return as soon as they arrive in Canada. Even though it appears too early, we ask ISMC staff to start thinking about connecting students to their home cities and campuses. ISMC builds networks with organizations and churches the world over, so we have a strategy to help returnees plug in quickly to avoid crash landings.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Returnee ministry requires many people and so much cooperation between churches and ministries around the world; it also brings unity as it empowers local faith communities to help returning Christians. Japanese Christians have been at the forefront of ministering to their returnees, and Kana’s story beautifully illustrates how God used individuals, churches, and ministries in her faith journey. My prayer: to see the same effectiveness around the world.
Will you help us equip returning students? Help us build returnee networks. This requires attending global conferences and visiting ministry partners worldwide. It involves learning the nuances of faith communities in different countries—especially countries that are more closed to Christianity. It requires equipping staff and volunteers to prepare returning students.
We invite you to give to the Next Step fund to help us continue developing ISMC’s returnee ministry.
Vice President, International Field
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