iFace COVID-19 Update
None of us foresaw the difference a virus would make to our life. Each campus is different, but everywhere education moved online, with International students often the only ones who couldn’t go home. Our 30 iFace staff and many more volunteers are adjusting. Here’s how.
James Paternoster, iFace President
“When you do new things in a new way, new things happen.”
“We’ve been doing Zoom meetings for women’s group, Bible study, and church and we’ve been surprised that each time we meet we have alumni from China, Hungary and Tanzania join us. This was an unexpected surprise and an encouragement to us!
“We’ve had a large number of international students watching our online services—nearly 1/3 of our views are from overseas. We are also having returnees who were seekers viewing…so many who are re-engaged with the Gospel!”
“Four of us on three different continents joined together and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ while holding signs, and then cheered and toasted and shared wishes to the birthday person.” … “We had a new person join the Sunday morning Bible study online…I was so glad he was willing to join something online with people that he had never met, let alone a Bible study! Our God is so good!”
“I have been able to record and share devotions and scripture, something I’ve done for a few friends learning English for the past year but now do more broadly in lieu of meeting face to face.” … “We were able to share corona virus information sheets in Farsi and Arabic, for which our friends were grateful.”
Not everything translates nicely to Zoom: some of our work with younger children has suffered.
“I sent texts to a dozen of the Hindu families I work with and whose kids go to kids’ clubs every week. I have not been able to communicate with many of the families that don’t use English.”
“I miss teaching the children. I have tried to talk with them on-line, but so far I can’t hold their attention. I hope next month to try a Zoom meeting just to see how it goes.”
These are especially challenging times for International students, far from home and family.
“In January we had a Lunar New Year’s party in my home. The students were all worried about their families and beginning to feel isolated and discriminated against because of being Chinese. The party in my home meant a lot to them and they expressed their gratitude over and over…I get texts almost every day from young people who fear for their families or feel afraid of what is happening. I’m able to pray for them and see Jesus work in their lives.”
“This crisis has opened the door for connection to and deep conversation with internationals here as well as around the world…I am deeply grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to share where to find true hope that anchors our future and life that cannot be taken away.”
- For sensitivity to God’s Spirit in pursuing relationships and Gospel conversations through digital means —that the Kingdom work won’t be hindered, but even multiplied in these days of social distancing
- That bonding with the students would grow even stronger, and that new friendships will start during this unparalleled experience.
- That many hearts will earnestly seek the Lord during this time, and that His love will be felt through His children as well as His Word.
- For students far from home to find comfort and connection
Thank you again for all of your support!
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PO BOX 450816
Atlanta GA 31145-0816