I love college students! Their enthusiasm for life is so fresh! I love the fact that they are trying to figure things out for themselves. They are at a place where they no longer want to float along on their parent’s beliefs but are searching for what they believe. What an opportunity to help them come to an understanding of the truth and help them discover that Christianity is not just built on blind faith, but that we have reasons why we can believe!
God first sparked my interest in international students when I was on staff at Southwest Bible Church, in Beaverton, Oregon, working in the college ministry. While there, I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, (now CRU), at Portland State University. It was a joy to work with several international students, see some come to know Christ and disciple them. I loved their enthusiasm and desire to know more about Jesus. There is nothing like having someone come to know Christ and then seeing the light turn on as they grow in their faith!
Later, God took me to Liberty University to serve as a Resident Director while working on my masters. While there, I saw many students come to faith in Christ. I also began to recognize not only the thrill of seeing someone come to know and follow Christ, but the importance of training up leaders who will be able to make other disciples. I developed a discipleship program and materials to help students become more solid in their faith and also learn to disciple others. We had a basic discipleship leader on each hall, and I met with the leaders each week, equipping them to share the lesson with their own groups.
Several years later, my love for college ministry and desire to make Christ known and equip leaders continued to grow. I came to a place where I told God that I wanted to take it to the world. God brought the world to me when He led me to Corban University, in Salem, Oregon, where I work as Coordinator of International Student Support. I have enjoyed serving internationals there for the last seven and a half years, extending hospitality and friendship while assisting with life needs. It has been great to see many students start following Jesus and to mentor them. It is exciting to equip leaders to go out and make a difference throughout the world for Jesus Christ. Not long ago, I began to realize that I want to be able to focus more on helping students in their Christian walk rather than the administrative duties. This led me to begin to seek God to see if he had a different direction. God to led me to International Friendships through an email I received from a friend.
What drew me to IFI was the idea of serving international students and partnering with them to make Christ known among the nations. This was already very much my vision as I have had the joy of seeing students that I have worked with go back to their country and make an impact there. I am excited to be a part of the strategic ministry of IFI and seek to serve internationals through life-changing hospitality and friendship out of reverence for Jesus.
My role with IFI will be two-fold:
1) Starting an IFI ministry in Salem, Oregon – Extending life-changing hospitality & friendship to internationals. I will be partnering with Corban University, where I have been on staff, and look to expand to other universities in the Salem area.
2) Equipping national IFI staff in evangelism and discipleship. This will include developing continuing education and training programs with the objective of enabling staff to gain a basic level of competency in cross cultural communication, evangelism and discipleship, and to sharpen their skills and gain new competencies.