We had a good start to the academic year in August as we had an opportunity to connect with about 60% of all incoming international students through our various welcoming activities like Airport Pickup, International Furniture Give-Away, shopping trips, and hiking. We have been following up with the 30% of participating students who indicated some kind of spiritual interest through our survey. Our weekly Bible discussion, called International Coffee Hour, has seen an uptick in attendance as a result.
International Furniture Give-Away
Celebrating its 19th year, the International Furniture Give-Away (FGA) is a cornerstone event among several others designed to warmly welcome new international students to our town, university, and ministry. This year’s FGA was a resounding success, allowing us to engage with over 550 students representing 37 different countries. This initial connection lays the foundation for our ministry to establish meaningful relationships, share the gospel with those seeking, and nurture the growth of believers through discipleship. The welcoming events, including the FGA, play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community and creating an environment where students from around the world feel embraced and supported in their academic and spiritual journeys. Check out this year’s FGA video highlights at myifm.in/fga23video.
Connecting with students during the holidays
American holidays provide wonderful opportunities for students to engage in American culture, fostering meaningful connections between them and us. The vital role played by our local volunteers cannot be overstated in offering our students these unique experiences. Over 100 students were graciously hosted by about two dozen volunteers in their homes for a shared Thanksgiving meal. The wealth of connections, shared moments, and an atmosphere of gratitude rendered this Thanksgiving an indelible celebration for both our students and volunteers.
Looking ahead to the Christmas season, we’ve organized a Christmas party at one of our local partner churches for 150 international students. Beyond savoring a delectable meal and engaging in games, students will have the chance to participate in a Christmas skit and listen to a Christmas message. Another highlight involves an evening of Christmas Caroling on a Saturday, where students will visit local homes to sing carols and learn about the Christmas story. We sincerely hope for abundant opportunities to convey the gospel during these events. Your prayers for the success and impact of these activities are greatly appreciated.
IFM’s Indiana Director pursues Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies
I (Elan) am pursuing a PhD in Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University (my alma mater) to prepare me to train the next generation to minister to the increasing number of international students who are arriving at our shores. Check out our recent newsletter for details about my Ph.D. program and the rationale for it: myifm.in/news1123. To contribute towards my Continuing Education Fund, visit ifmonline.org/donate-2/ and choose Continuing Education Fund – Elan Rajamani from the dropdown menu under “IFM Missionary or Fund.”