Mexico (MNN) — Over 1,000 evangelical student ministry leaders, workers, and students have gathered in Oaxtepec, Mexico, this week for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) World Assembly.
“This is a unique event: it’s only [held] every four years. So, we’re trying to make the most of it,” says InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Associate Director of Communications, Adam Jeske.
Jeske recently spoke with MNN from the IFES World Assembly.
“Just like InterVarsity reaches out on 600 campuses across the U.S., IFES member movements reach out in the same way in all of these member nations,” he explains.
IFES World Assembly: the who’s and why’s
Today wraps up eight consecutive days of fellowship, learning, and strategizing for IFES World Assembly’s 1,050 attendants. More about the IFES World Assembly here.
Ranging from students to faculty members to campus ministry leaders, World Assembly participants represented more than 150 IFES member nations.
“We’ve welcomed in 9 new member movements,” Jeske adds, “including four in countries that we can’t name because of the governments’ attitude toward Christians.”
Persecution and how ministries can respond when faced by hostility was one of the IFES World Assembly’s main themes this year. This April, an IFES member group in Kenya suffered greatly when al-Shabaab terrorists attacked a college in Garrissa.
“148 people were killed, including 22 students from the IFES member movement ‘FOCUS’,” explains Jeske. “They were at a 5 a.m. prayer meeting [when] gunmen came in.
“Some [FOCUS] members were killed; some members were hiding all day on their campus, trying to avoid the attackers.”
“The students came out with a really incredible sense of God’s calling to continue ministering in their environment,” Jeske shares.
“Obviously [there was] great hurt and great pain, but nonetheless incredible faith that, for those of us who are in the Church in the West, it’s really hard to imagine.”
IFES World Assembly: follow up
Jeske and his teammates have been soaking up all the IFES World Assembly has to offer, from Bible study to fellowship to prayer.
Now, as they transition back to their regular ministry roles at InterVarsity, each teammate will begin to unpack what they’ve learned and how it might help them during the 2015-2016 school year.
“We’ve each spent some time thinking about our particular ministry roles, and we have what we’re calling ‘learning projects,’ for lack of a better term,” says Jeske.
As the team develops strategies that will help them reach more college students for Christ, will you keep them in your prayers?
“We would greatly appreciate prayer,” Jeske adds.
“The amount of content, the amount of stories, the amount of new relationships, is really overwhelming. So [pray] that God would give us grace to press on, that there would be really practical insights for us that would release more ministry.”