What happens when you get together students and Christian staff workers from universities all around the world, from places like Australia, Ghana, Palestine and Peru? I’m really grateful to have to have been part of this amazing event called the IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) World Assembly.
One student from El Salvador shared how students live with the fear of bandits who take advantage of the instability in the country. She’s once had to dive to the ground when gunfire opened in the streets. Other students shared how they operate in countries where it is illegal to share their faith. It was also sad to hear that in countries in Europe that we’d consider peaceful and open to the gospel, the University administration treats evangelical groups with suspicion while being open to other religions. One administrator told a Christian group that he believed they were only growing because they used manipulation and coercion. For me this was encouragement to fully take advantage of the openness to the gospel we currently have in Peru.
Working in Peru has it’s own challenges so it was helpful to talk to others in a similar situation. I’m the only full-time staff worker in a University with over 20,000 students. There are two other universities within walking distance with over 10,000 students each. Clearly to reach such an enormous number of students we need processes to disciple and empower Christian students to reach their friends. It was great to connect with Peter Sholl, an Aussie missionary, who has a programme for providing theological education for University student while they continue in their studies. Daniela from Mexico (video in Spanish) spoke about how syncretism where Catholicism mixed with other beliefs results in a world view that is distant from what the Bible teaches. She shared some ideas of how their group engages with students in this context.
The conference was also a good opportunity to speak with the leaders of the University ministry from several different Latin American countries about our Uconecta project. The students from Mexico were particularly interested. I learnt a lot from a student from Chile who showed me a system that his University used to share information.
Here’s an article in Christianity Today that features a photo of someone you know. When the photo was taken I was just asking a question about the financial statement - not making one of the five world changing ideas. :) I did however get the opportunity to share about the Uconecta project at the Latin American gathering.