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Engaging the 'Hard to Reach'

"It's amazing who's coming to our church..."

"Earlier this year, our small Baptist church in south Wales held a baptismal service. Three students were baptised, so it attracted a crowd from the university.
Among the visitors were two Iraqis and one from Sudan, all Muslims. As I spoke to them they told me that they had never been to church before, and all they knew of a baptism is from what they had seen on YouTube.
They were a little apprehensive, but after a warm welcome they thoroughly enjoyed the service as well as the vegan food served afterwards.
Amazingly it wasn’t a one-off; one of them now comes to church regularly and I have been able to give him a Bible in Arabic and explain the gospel to him in some depth."
— Student Worker, Cardiff

 

Support our ‘Hard to Reach’ ministry Initiative
Why don’t you join us in this simple, yet world-changing ministry?
We are seeking partners who want to pray and support our ‘Hard to Reach’ ministry strategy. Alongside the challenge of ministering to the students from the ‘least reached’ countries, Friends International is now seeking to identify which students, when they come here, are the hard to reach once on the ground in the UK.
Although we meet and befriend many students, some groups remain unengaged. In order to be intentional in reaching out to the many who are not attracted to what we offer, we need to ask what we can do or what might we change to draw near to them and them to us.
Perhaps they do not self-identify as international students. Perhaps they are watched by government and fellow nationals. Perhaps they simply don’t like our kinds of activities or do not want anything to do with Christianity. A new work is underway to identify ‘hard to reach’ student groups in each location and to give thought to new creative and strategic pathways of outreach.
We need to ask the Lord to lead us forward, and we need your partnership.
Please consider praying for this ministry and giving a gift using the giving pages on this website.
Thank you.
— Rachel Chard, Head of Hard to Reach

 

International Student Cafés

The Best Café in Town

Hello everyone, I am Rosy from Taiwan.
I graduated from Newcastle University with a Master’s in Film Theory and Practice, in December 2016.
During the time I lived in Newcastle, there was one special café I would go to every Monday evening – the Globe Café in Jesmond Parish Church (JPC).
It is not an ordinary café like Starbucks or Costa. It’s a café run by Christians for international students to practise their English and learn more about British culture. We have a meal together; do many interesting activities depending on the theme of that week, for example, Bonfire Night, English afternoon tea, gingerbread man decorating, etc. It’s great fun. You don’t need to be a Christian to join the café – everyone is welcome!
I started to come to the Globe Café when I arrived in Newcastle in September 2015. In the beginning, I went just because, at the time, it happened right after JPCi’s Bible study. We usually continued the conversation from the study. However, as I went there more often, I found that you could do far more than that. I enjoyed the warm welcome and fun activities, but also enjoyed the opportunities to share my faith with other international students during table discussions.
I always remember the first Globe Café I attended – a Ceilidh dance, which is traditional Scottish dancing. I was so excited when I learnt this kind of dance. It reminded me of the ballroom scene in my favourite film, Pride and Prejudice (although I found out in the end they were actually two different kinds of dances).
One thing that impresses me about the Globe Café is the volunteers. They are servant hearted, open and generous. Some volunteers are students from Newcastle University Christian Union; some come after they finish work; some are older people who are retired. What surprises me most is that they all come from different churches.
It’s really a beautiful picture of people from different backgrounds and different churches working with one heart to bring people to know God.
This article was originally published in JOURNEY (Issue 2; Spring 2017). Words: Rosy Chen Photos: Dorothy Chong

 

Café International in Bath

It was at the end of the 2006 academic year when a small group of volunteers gathered in the Widcombe Church kitchen and came up with the name Café International for the Tuesday international outreach event.
In those days, when we met in the basement of Widcombe Church, we would have been happy with a crowd of 20 or 30 students at the café.
In the last 10 years it’s so encouraging to see how God has developed the ministry. We outgrew the basement space between 2007 and 2011, and then outgrew the church hall between 2011 and today. Over the last five years we have seen a steady increase in attendances, and the total number of people to come through the doors of Café International has increased from 128 in 2011-12 to 402 in 2017-18!
Over the course of those 10 years the café has seen many changes, not least to the format and structure of how things are run. These days the café has a familiar structure each week, with slight variation based on the event. Typically we look at a different culture or an aspect of British culture and have a main meal with discussion questions followed by a short cultural talk. Later in the evening we hear from one of the volunteers on how being a Christian makes a difference to their lives and then we have an optional talk or Bible study available.
As well as high numbers of students we are seeing significant interest in the gospel, with conversations about God happening on most tables each week. Many Chinese students who are not Christians are going regularly to the Chinese Christian Fellowship (30- 40 each week), where they are learning from the Bible. We also have students regularly attending English speaking one-to-one (or small group) Bible studies.
— Adam Kinnison, Bath Staff Worker

 

 

 

 
 

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