Bert and Heather Kamphuis have been on staff with ISMC for almost two decades! They pioneered ministries in both Kamloops and Vancouver. Now in their seventies, Bert & Heather remain active in hospitality and mentorship while sharing their experiences ministering to international students as consultants for ISMC.
“Be kind. Be calm. Be safe” For months now, BC provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has ended each of her Covid updates with these words of wisdom. The words have shaped attitudes in BC and have contributed to the province’s success in reaching its pandemic goals.
“Be kind” are words of wisdom in a pandemic, but they are equally applicable to ministering to international students. Here are some words of wisdom that have shaped our attitudes and success in working with students over the years:
Simply being kind opens the door to many opportunities for sharing the gospel with international students.
Friendship is not just a single event, nor does it end when a student graduates. Some of our relationships go back 19 years and have spanned continents.
There is no substitute for hospitality—making students feel at home when they visit you. What a blessing to become their “Canadian” Mom and Dad (and now Grandma and Grandpa).
Giving of your time to meet felt needs is part of the tangible Christianity that makes an impact in students’ lives—including 5 am airport rides and emergency phone calls in the wee hours of the morning.
Students’ lives are touched when you pray for them and with them. Show them how God answers prayer.
Be sensitive and thoughtful
Events such as birthdays, graduations, and national holidays (theirs and yours) offer opportunities to learn and to share God’s love.
Be a listener
You can bring down barriers and misunderstandings by listening, learning, and asking questions. Sometimes all students need is a sounding board and someone to care.
Be willing to take risks
Interacting with different cultures always comes with risks, whether it’s trying unfamiliar foods or flying across the world. We ended up in China during SARS—but this adventure not only encouraged our Chinese friend but also touched the lives of his family members.
Be a team player
This ministry isn’t meant to be done alone, and what better testimony to the students than to see brothers and sisters in Christ working together in unity. Introduce students to a local church so they can become part of that church family.
This is the bottom line. Don’t compare yourself to others but do what Christ would do. As someone once said: “You may be the only Bible some people will read.”