Cherry Chen

Ministry Intern (Dayton, OH)

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I had a deep connection with International Student Ministries from the time I came to the US. I heard the gospel from my American host parents while I studied in the U.S the first time as a high school student. I stayed a year with them and I witnessed how they lived out a godly life. I felt their joy while worshiping God, and their humble attitude while holding my hands for prayers on a daily basis. They were so patient and gentle, all these traits gave me the desire to be like them. I have never lost connection with them. It is the 10th year of our relationship, they are not just my host parents, but rather my spiritual parents as well.

From then, my spiritual growth journey benefited from campus ministries and the Chinese churches while I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree during 2012-2018. Yes, I spent 6 years to earn a bachelor’s degree, during which I have struggled with my studies, my future career, my identity, and my relationships with people, etc. On the other hand, all these struggles and dark moments led me to depend more on my Savior, Jesus Christ. I decided to follow Jesus right after I entered college with simple faith influenced by my host parents in 2012. Although my English was not advanced, I was clear that I would have a Father in heaven if I decided to follow Jesus.

Then I joined a lot of retreat camps, and attended activities held by campus ministries, regularly going to churches to learn more about my beliefs, and gradually to serve the church’s Chinese student ministry, and other worship services. I was wanting to serve God, and wondering about God’s plan for my life, so I decided to go to seminary to get a deeper understanding about the Bible, and how to serve better. So I earned my masters in Christian Education in 2019-2021.

I had an open heart for God, and I was waiting for God’s full-time calling. Unexpectedly, God used verse Isaiah 6:8: “Here I am, send me.” on three different occasions to give me confirmation for my full-time calling. While I did not know where to start, I got to know about IFI. I believe this will be my starting point to get into the field.

My role as a Ministry Intern is to learn what international student ministry (ISM) entails and develop skills to run an effective international student ministry (ISM). In so doing, the team will help fulfill the vision of IFI by extending God’s love globally through equipping followers of Jesus to be effective cross-cultural communicators. As an international student who benefited from ministries like IFI, I feel special connections with other international students, and also I am passionate about  serving them, loving them and building friendships with them.

I will join the team in Dayton, Ohio. I felt like being called like Abraham, and started to build tents by following God’s direction. “Ohio” will clearly be my first tent (in Hebrew, pronounced as ‘Ohel’)! I am excited for God’s great plan ahead of me.

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