Christ’s instructions to His disciples: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields” (Luke 10:2 NLT).
In a Zoom meeting with ISMC senior leadership, me, and three vice presidents, I noticed that each of us had been an international student! Likewise, for the dozen people on our national leadership community, 80% were international students! While there will always be Canadians at every level of ISMC, I believe that if we do mission correctly, the fruit of our labor will be the students who have been empowered, those now at the helm and partnering with us to impact the world through Jesus Christ!
This spring, I joined Jose and Clara, our Sherbrooke, QC, staff to share what they see ahead for their work as they engaged ministry partners on Zoom. My heart was warmed as I thought about how they were international students just a few years ago. While Clara (Venezuela) pursued law in England, Jose (Colombia), studied in Canada and served with ISMC. After returning to Colombia to finish his studies, the Lord called Jose to serve the current crop of international students in Sherbrooke where he studied! Indeed, the harvesters are from within the harvest!
Over the last few months, we have had the joy of accepting two new staff to ISMC, a couple originally from Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. Both studied in the United Kingdom and served there for 20 years. A few years ago, Enoch and Pin Kunarajah began working with our sister organization, Friends International, and have been accepted by our candidate committee to join ISMC. They will minister to the thousands of international students in the Greater Toronto area! Hallelujah! Indeed, the harvesters are from within the harvest!
During a recent phone call with Dr. See Seng Tan, the new president of International Students Inc. (ISI), our US counterpart, I was pleasantly surprised. Why? Because I learned that in the late 1980s, as a Singaporean undergrad in Winnipeg, he benefited from ISMC’s ministry. After postgraduate studies in the States, he served on ISI staff for about a year. He worked in academia for 19 years in Singapore before returning to the USA last year to serve as president! There are other new ministry leaders serving international students who, like me, studied in Canada, the States, or New Zealand.
Indeed, tomorrow’s harvesters are from within today’s harvest!
At 10:02 every morning (mirroring Luke 10:02), my alarm reminds me to pray to the Lord of the harvest for more harvesters. I invite you to join me in doing this every day in obedience to Jesus’ command. As we pray, let’s also watch for those among the harvest of international students who He is preparing to work on the other side of the sickle!
Dr. Yaw Perbi