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Friends International Ministries and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In these difficult times, our top priority is to ensure the welfare of our staff, trainees, volunteers and of course, the hundreds of international students we meet every week.

Large numbers of international students are returning home before travel restrictions stop them. Yet, many are stuck here and, with the universities closing, have nowhere to go and few people to help them. Therefore, we will continue supporting international students in all the ways we can, while also adhering to government guidelines.

Having assessed the situation it is clear that all our events and activities will be significantly impacted. Therefore, we are now moving our international student events online, so that we can continue the important work of growing friendship and faith with international students.



WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR INTERNATIONAL CAFES?
Unfortunately, all the cafés run by Friends International will not be able to meet for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that in many of our centres we are starting Zoom Cafés. These will be video calls, using Zoom, for up to 100 people who would normally meet at an international café. Please check your local Friends International Facebook Page or our app in the coming days, to see if there will be Zoom Cafés in your area.


WHAT ABOUT THE FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL HOSTING SCHEMES?
Our Hosting Schemes will have to be put on hold for the time being, but we are using the Friends International App to allow students to reach out to us for digital connection. We hope that this will also include linking hosts with students digitally, for those that want that.

WHAT ABOUT THE FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL OFFICE (SUPPORT CENTRE)?
As you might expect, due to the current circumstances, the Support Centre office is unmanned for the time being. All of us will be working from home and will endeavour to keep everything running as usual. The best way to contact us at this time is by email: info@friendsinternational.uk

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?
All students should adhere to the current guidelines set out by the government. The best sources of information are the NHS Coronavirus page and the UK government's response page.


Thank you for your continued support of international students, your giving and prayers are needed now more than ever. Please particularly pray these new ways to connect with students digitally would be successful and would allow fellowship and discipleship to continue.

Despite the trials we are all facing, we will continue to serve international students, and pray that God would draw us close to them, even if it is virtually, and ask that He would make Himself known to them.

We must remember, as we face so much turmoil, that we are told: ‘Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).

If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.

Alan Tower
National Director

alan.tower@friendsinternational.uk

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