International (MNN) – Today is World Student Day, a global event founded by International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. World Student Day has been going on for over 10 years and was born out of a desire to tangibly encourage students.
In fact, according to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Kurt Thiel, IFES was founded by nine international Christian student movements, including InterVarsity, at Harvard in 1947. These movements joined forces to connect internationally. Since its founding, IFES has added over 150 more movements from across the world.
World Student Day
“It’s one day, which happens once every year, where we try to gather students from movements all around the world to pray together. That’s a hard thing to do physically, but we have developed lots of digital tools to help us do that,” IFES’s Jonathan Greenaway shares.
“Central to that is a special website, which is ifeswsd.org. And there, students can send in their prayer requests and see prayer requests from countries all around the world.”
Currently, there are seventy-five countries represented on the site with at least one-hundred-and-sixty prayer request submissions. And despite World Student Day being considered a one-day event, so many students from so many countries across the globe take part in it that the event lasts a bit longer than the typical 24 hours.
“We actually started at midday UK time, which was about midnight somewhere in the South Pacific,” Greenaway explains. “[It] will run for a whole 48 hours until the sun sets somewhere in the Pacific again.”
Yet, World Student Day isn’t only encouraging students, it’s also encouraging those who have helped bring this day to fruition.
“It’s been really encouraging for me. I’ve been doing lots of the tech, building the technical support for this event for a while,” Greenaway shares. “But, just reading through some of the prayer cards this week, when we’re editing them, is really encouraging to see students in different context talking about the challenges that they face.”
Joined in Christ
World Student Day has become a forum that shows both the challenges and opportunities for Christian students across the world. Greenaway says they’ve had prayer requests from students in Kenya who suffered from the infamous terrorist attack from a couple of years ago, asking for prayers for the new Christian union that’s been established at their university.
Prayer requests have been coming in from Puerto Rico, which was recently hit by multiple hurricanes. Requests are also coming in from students in Europe, who face challenges with a secular society and identity issues.
And InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, who is partnered with IFES, has students participating in World Student Day, too.
“I learned recently that an InterVarsity group in San Diego is going to travel across the border. They’re going to walk across the border to Tijuana and gather with students in Tijuana to pray together,” InterVarsity’s Kurt Thiel shares.
“The movement in Mexico is called Compa. And so, InterVarsity USA and Compa students will be gathering together and praying together. It’s wonderful when you can do that in person. That’s usually not the case, but in San Diego it’s possible.”
Furthermore, Thiel says when people open themselves up to people from other places, backgrounds, and situations, it impacts our faith for the richer.
How to Get Involved
Please, would you also pray for these students across the globe? Please pray for these students’ encouragement, for their faith to grow, and for God’s direction and work in their lives. Pray for the cultural barriers, specifically language and the ability and opportunity to get involved. And finally, pray for IFES to continue reaching more countries as it partners with national Christians.
“There are 151 million students around the world. It’s a huge opportunity, a huge mission field and we want to see those students reached,” Thiel shares. “Because by reaching students, we really do reach the Church and society around the world.”
Find more ways to pray and learn more about World Student Day here!
For more information about International Fellowship of Evangelic Students, click here!
Get involved on social media by using the hashtag #ifeswsd.