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An Easter Resource for your Church

This Resource will help your church welcome and befriend international students this Easter.

To aid your churches efforts this Easter, we have created eight pages of practical and fun tips and suggestions. It features:

  • Top tips for making your church services international student friendly

  • Ideas for engaging international visitors at Easter

  • A fun quiz which will help discussion about the real meaning of Easter

  • Ways to partner with Friends International

Click the orange button below to view and download now, and remember Easter is on April 12th, 2020!


Free Easter Resource

A Vision for Growth & Introducing our New Directors

Friends International, in partnership with churches and Christian Unions, had contact with 11,000 international students last year… but we’re still only scratching the surface.

Our vision for the next 10 years is to expand the work to 12 new locations across the UK and Ireland, recruiting 20 new staff members and engaging with 4,000 more international students annually.
The 12 locations we have identified have large numbers of international students but are also places where we currently do not have staff and will be the first places we will focus on as we grow: Coventry, Dublin, Liverpool, Brighton, Reading, Hatfield, Swansea, Huddersfield, Medway, Sunderland, Bangor and Plymouth.
We also recognise that there are other locations where we already have staff, but the sheer number of international students demands an increased presence. Therefore, we plan to add further staff workers in London, Sheffield, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Bath, St Andrews, Durham, and Exeter, to serve the growing numbers of international students.
We have already begun working hard towards this vision. In the last six months we have improved infrastructure to support these new developments by appointing an Operations Manager and two more Regional Development Directors (see below). This will enable the growth of our organisation to be smooth and sustainable.
The next step, and the most crucial, is to pray. May we ask you to join us in praying for God’s guidance and grace every step of the way? Please ask God to bring the right new people into the ministry and for Him to bring to us many more faithful and generous supporters to back the vision.
Thank you for your continued support. 
— Alan Tower, National Director

Introducing our New Directors

I am Iván, originally from Chile and together with my wife Joanne from Scotland, we have served in overseas missions for the last 30 years, first onboard OM’s ships (where we met) and then as part of the leadership of OM UK.
I’m excited about Friends International’s passion to reach international students in the UK with the love of Jesus. The key for me is the desire to honour the local church as the vehicle for our ministry. Not just befriending students but when appropriate, discipling them so they can make disciples. The ministry is impacting nations through the individuals we meet weekly.
I am energised by the vision and hope to see new staff workers appointed and more churches being mobilised to join with us in ministry, multiplying the impact. What we see is great, the scope is greater if we work together, with a sense of urgency.
— Iván Neira, Regional Development Director – North England & North Wales
I’m Susanne, I grew up in the countryside in Germany, but I have also lived in five different countries, including time in Spain working as an IFES Team Leader. 
My life changed completely when I became a Christian as an international student in the United States, and because of that I’m excited about contributing to reaching more international students with the good news of Jesus Christ and discipling students who are already Christians, but have the opportunity to grow and widen their horizon while being abroad.
I would love to see more students engaging in London and overcoming the typical challenges that we can find in big cities. It would be fantastic to be able to at least partially crack the code and expand and strengthen the ministry across other centres in South East England.
— Susanne Koch, Regional Development Director – South East England 



NEW BOOK: International Students and the Local Church

International Students and the Local Church: A Handbook
This new handbook from Friends International brings together in one compact volume an easy to read guide for churches wishing to engage with international students.
Drawn from decades of experience, this new resource is written with church leaders and student ministry leaders in mind. It contains both Biblical principles and practical guidelines covering the key topics most will want to know about. Prayer, contextual evangelism, the purpose of social events, student welfare, hospitality, working with universities, church services, baptism and even serving food are all issues covered, together with many more.
For those who are already experienced in running international student ministry in their church, there is much food for thought and pointers for going deeper; for those just starting out there are plenty of ideas and examples, with real student stories and discussion questions to enable deeper reflection.

Visit our Bookshop

“This is a handy, easy-to-read resource that also inspires involvement in this strategic ministry. It captures both the principles and practical ideas and hints to help individuals and churches support and befriend international students.”
“This should take the fear out of your church’s adventure into befriending international students! It contains clear biblical principles, practical guidelines and helpful hints – answering most of the questions your church leaders are likely to have ever asked about international student ministry and many they have never thought about.”
This handbook ought to be read by the leaders of churches engaging in international student ministry, and will be an invaluable training resource for teams working amongst international students. It is packed with encouraging stories and testimonies that will inspire and encourage, together with useful suggestions for further reading.”
“A comprehensive guide for churches wishing to engage in International student ministry, wonderfully practical, and the fruit of rich reflection on extensive personal experience. A book which will give confidence to those starting out on the journey and enable experienced practitioners to raise their game.”
“Catherine presents a clear biblical vision for reaching the world on our doorstep, a solid framework to build on and plenty of suggestions and stories to inspire us to action.”
Order you’re copy now from our website:


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:



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:



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:



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