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Become a Host this Christmas!

Hospitality: A Shining Light at Christmas

In the middle of winter, when it is dark and cold, you don’t want to be far away from your friends and family. Yet, many international students who are here from distant lands are not able to return home, and therefore spend Christmas in their student accommodation, often alone. What if Christians opened their doors over the festive period and started welcoming in these students? This is the invitation we’re offering through our hosting scheme and we would love for you to be involved.
What a Student has said: 
As an international student, who was new to the UK, I felt a deep sense of isolation. Before Christmas, my isolation increased as a lot of my colleagues and friends went overseas to spend Christmas with their families. At that time, I was blessed to know a local Christian family, who invited me to join them at Christmas. It was a great opportunity for me to meet more people and to learn about how the British celebrate and spend their time at Christmas.”  - Student from Syria
What a Host has said: 
Last Christmas we hosted two Chinese students from Southampton University. As a family we took them out walking in the New Forest before Christmas dinner and we played party games with them in the evening. They were great fun and fitted in very well. One of them wrote afterwards that it was the best Christmas she had had in her life!” - A Friends International Host in Southampton

Become a Friends International Host:

Either speak to your local Friends International staff worker for more information or complete our Host Registration form: http://connect.friendsinternational.uk/register/host

 

 

Reach: Cross-cultural Outreach & Ministry Training

Why Join Reach?

Over the years, both international and British graduates have found the Reach Programme to be formational, setting them up for the next phase of life. The flexible programme means that it is suitable for the international student who has become a Christian whilst here and wants to grow as a disciple before returning home, or the British graduate who wants to learn about cross-cultural outreach – whether they then go abroad or stay in the UK.
As Reach training builds deeper understanding of both the Bible and modern cultures, we believe it is a significant and strategic investment into the growth of the church. Our prayer is that, through Reach, we will train-up servant-hearted followers of Jesus who are committed to life-long discipleship, passionate about God’s work and have foundational equipping for cross-cultural ministry.
Jenny Brown, Reach Coordinator

 

Applications for 2020 now Open!

If you’re interested in joining the Reach Programme in 2020 vist the Reach page. If you want more info or want to invest prayer and finance to support a Reach Trainee, contact Jenny: jenny.brown@friendsinternational.uk

 

 

My Year as a Reach Trainee 

On the outside, Reach would seem to be about colourful hoodies, cross-cultural training and endless free Chinese meals cooked by loving students. It is all these things, but so much more. My year in Newcastle has seen me doing activities from basketball in the park to training courses near London, visiting our former international students as far as Cardiff and St Andrews, and building lasting friendship with so many students through the simple 2-word phrase: “English Practice”.
As well as learning how to study the Bible with Iranian and Japanese students, we learnt how to rest and how to reflect. Our study books have taught us the value of self-forgetfulness and how to read the Bible as a whole. Things which, after three years of intense lectures and CU evangelism, have really brought a confidence and a depth to my faith.
This is perhaps the best thing about Reach. It’s so flexible that, apart from Globe Cafés, matching hoodies and a love for international students, each Reach Trainee’s year could look totally different. For me it’s meant a greater focus on reading God’s Word than I’ve ever had since becoming a Christian at uni. It’s also meant a very helpful exposure to Mandarin ministry which has given focus to guide my future planning for now. Finally, it’s given me a long list of books and activities which I can’t wait to (attempt to) get through during my second Reach year!
Matthew Brindley, Reach Trainee, Newcastle

 

If you’re interested in joining the Reach Programme in 2020, you can find more here: www.friendsinternational.uk/reach

 

 

Impact Report (2018-19)

Looking Back, Looking Forward

As we start a new academic year, it can benefit us greatly to look back at what happened in the year just gone. We can rejoice in what worked well and analyse what can be improved.
This article looks back, both in terms of our financial year and our ministry year. One statistic that stands out to me is that in the last academic year we had contact with an estimated 11,000 international students! Success like this is possible because of our faithful financial supporters, volunteers and prayer partners.
Looking forward, we intend to continue to grow our activities, particularly with a concerted effort to appoint staff and develop partnerships in a further twenty cities between 2020 and 2025. The aim is that the 50 locations with the most international university students are helped towards thriving international student ministry. This aim is significantly helped by having a stable financial footing, which you can see in our financial review below.
We thank God for the year we have had, and we are excited for what is to come.
Alan Tower, National Director

 

 

Financial Review

We give thanks and praise to God for the financial outcome for 2018. With the help of legacies which came to £151,500 there was a surplus of £69,775. There is therefore an underlying deficit of £81,725.
In 2017 we reported that core gift income from churches, trusts, personal supporters and related Gift Aid was 11% higher than the previous year. In 2018 this has slipped back by 8%. Meanwhile careful cost control has ensured that our expenses have risen by only 1.7%. This includes the release of funds designated to allow several new workers to be paid for additional days’ work beyond what their level of financial support would otherwise allow.
We are very thankful for the many hundreds of financial supporters who faithfully contribute towards funding our strategic ministry amongst international students.

 

 
 
 
 

The Big Welcome

“ At Centrepoint Church we love seeing new students arrive!” 

Every September we love to welcome in new students, including many international students who come from all over the world. We give them serving opportunities, get them integrated into church life, put them on leadership training courses and help them to grow in their faith.
When I started university, after a few months I found a church that fed me every week, treated me like an adult, gave me opportunities to grow and had grace for me when I was away. It became a home away from home!

Continue Reading

"I arrived here not knowing a single person..."

My Experience as a New International Student

I’m Albert, a Hungarian student at the University of South Wales. I lived 19 years of my life in my home country and then decided to try something new. Now I live in Pontypridd and study International Wildlife Biology.
I arrived here not knowing a single person, which was a truly refreshing experience. I soon found out that the Welsh accent is difficult to understand and that it was going to take me some time to get used to. I also noticed that the towns here in the valleys are pleasantly nature-filled. The permanent rain doesn’t bother me too much.
The first month was tough: I had never lived on my own so I had to get independent quickly. I started learning to cook, devising shopping routes and so on. I often felt very stressed, but at the same time it was a joy to be part of this entirely new culture, place and to speak the language.

"These people became my family and assured me that my future here in Wales is in the right hands."

The campuses here are filled with internationals, so it wasn’t long until I started meeting all kinds of different people from all over the world. By the end of the first month I had already made many friends and learnt much about being independent, so the stress started to disappear.
I had never really been religious before, yet most of the friends I’ve made are Christians, since I felt strangely comfortable among them. I was eventually invited to Bethany Baptist Church, where I witnessed greater kindness than I had ever seen. These people became my family and assured me that my future here in Wales is in the right hands.
There have been a few challenges, but nonetheless living in Wales has been absolutely amazing. I know it was the right decision to take that huge step out into the world, and I hope I can stay much longer!
— Albert Kovács  

 

 

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