"Edinburgh CUs city-wide events week took place last week and I had the opportunity to give three gospel talks from Mark's gospel.
Give thanks for the many students who came to hear these talks, and for the opportunity to present the gospel to young adults from so many nations.
Many stayed behind to ask questions after each talk. One chap from India said he'd never understood that Jesus had come to forgive sins. Somone from California said that Christianity might provide him with direction. A Polish girl said she'd never heard a talk like that. Some Chinese girls found a story about a Chinese conversion particularly moving.
I heard today that at least one international student became a Christian on the Friday evening. Please pray for continued follow-up and responses to be made in the coming weeks or months."
— Douglas Humphris
Peter Teagle is the Head of Events Speaking at Friends International. In February 2019, he and others from the team will be speaking at universities across the country.
"As I write we have just finished the second of two training overnighters (Oxford and Glasgow) seeking to equip speakers for, among other things, international student tracks at university events weeks.
The need and appetite for such learning groups reflect a growing vision amongst CUs (Christian Unions) to hold international talks at their events weeks.
As I prepare to speak at Leeds and Southampton this time around, I am excited once more about the opportunities and importance of such talks. But what is my reason for promoting them? Simply this: international student talks are NOT the 'English-made-easy' version of the 'main' talks, rather they are an opportunity to address the different worldviews, presuppositions, apologetic questions and heart-issues that (particularly) non-western students have, and to do so in an accessible, understandable, culturally sensitive way.
"...international student talks are NOT the 'English-made-easy' version of the 'main' talks..."
After a talk I did some while ago, a Christian worker told me that she had been watching a Chinese poatgrad texting his friend through the earlier part of my message. "Hoping this won't take too long, I will get out of this event as soon as I can". Then, as he began to see how the talk spoke directly into his values as a Chinese person, texted: "Wait, this is for me," and put his phone away and stayed.
I say this not to boast, but to share what my vision for international talks are for: to resonate in such a way that students from cultures very different from our own can say, this is for me!"
— Peter Teagle, Head of Events Speaking.
Upcoming CU Events Weeks with International Student Talks:
London city-wide CU Mission Week: 28th-31st Jan
Birmingham Mission Week: 28th-31st Jan
Leeds Mission Week: 4th-8th Feb (Peter Teagle speaking)
Southampton Mission Week: 11th-15th Feb (Peter Teagle speaking)
Manchester city-wide Mission Week: 11th-15th Feb (Graham Stockton speaking)
Canterbury city-wide Mission Week: 18th-22nd Feb
Liverpool Mission Week: 18th-22nd Feb (Graham Stockton speaking)
Lancaster Mission Week: 26th Feb-2nd March (Tom Hudson speaking)
Pictured: Some of our Malaysian student guests with my daughter (far-right))
The main reason why we host international students is to give friendship and encouragement.
Our first meeting is often at a coffee shop near their university or college. This makes it easier for the student to accept an invitation and to get to know us in a more familiar environment.
A new app is making it possible for international students to find dedicated events for them, run by local Christians.
Over 2,000 students have downloaded the new Friends International app, which is specifically designed for students who have come to the UK to study. During their short stay they can use the app to find and join events, Bible Studies, trips and hosting schemes – all organised for them by local Christians.
The app, freely available on Apple and Android devices, only launched in September but has already been warmly received by large numbers of students. It is proving to be an incredibly efficient and practical way to connect with these students.
Rebecca, who organises an International Café in Glasgow, said: “I’ve told all the international students I know to download the app. Now they can see all our up-coming events and get in contact with us easily if they want to.”
The app also boasts a very handy guide to living in the UK, which any international student would find beneficial. Students using the app can read blogs, take surveys, and are invited to submit their own stories of studying abroad.
Over 450,000 international students study at UK universities and some 400,000 come to study English in language schools. The new Friends International app is allowing even more of these visiting students to meet local Christians, attend church for the first time, and discover who Jesus really is.
Since 1985 Friends International has served and shared Jesus with students who are studying abroad in the UK, and encouraged and equipped churches and Christian Unions to do the same.
They operate in almost 40 university towns and cities across the UK, and have over 60 full and part-time workers befriending and sharing Jesus with international students.
Further information is available from Jack Bentley, the Friends International Communications & Media Coordinator. Tel: 01920 460006 Email: email@example.com
Friends International Ministries is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 4500270 and a registered charity no. 1094095