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Praise & Prayer June/July 2000

 

Côte d'Ivoire

A new phase

"An army coup last Christmas Eve ended the ruling party's 40 years in

power. Most people are much relieved by this, students being among the

first to hail the change," reports Serge Oulaï, acting General Secretary of

Groupes Bibliques Universitaires de Côte d'Ivoire (GBU CI). "In fact, since

the advent of multiparty democracy in 1990, there had been various

protests, mainly affecting secondary and tertiary education, but things

seem to be settling down again now.

"Officially formed in August 1997, GBU CI now has more than 10 groups,

themselves made up of several smaller Bible study and prayer groups, in

three-quarters of the towns with facilities for tertiary education. Our

ministry is enjoying increasing recognition and support from local churches.

"Since our first General Secretary, Pierre Ezoua, left in October 1999, we

have been working at strengthening existing pioneer ministry. We are now

entering a growth phase, so mobilising graduates is one of our priorities."

 

Praise God for

pioneer ministry;

affiliation to IFES in July 1999;

the healthy twinning link with GBEEG, the movement in Conakry Guinea.

Please pray for

Serge Oulaï, Koré Eli, who works with graduates, and the 10+ volunteer staff;

the second GBU CI congress, 8-15 August 2000;

the current political transition and October's general elections.

 

Suriname

Breaking through in 2000

"Teachers' strikes over worsening social, economic and political conditions

have brought disruption for students and for our ministry in the schools,"

writes Michael de Gama, Board Chairman of Jesus Students Suriname Movement (JSSM).

"Nevertheless, this year started well, with many students promising to

spend more time ‘with’ and ‘for’ the Lord at January's 'Jesus Students

Meeting 2000'. Joint school visits by JSSM and Youth With a Mission

resulted in several professions of faith. In the District of Nickerie,

where establishing groups has proved difficult, several students from two

high schools volunteered to start small groups.

"In recent weeks, news that three students hanged themselves, seemingly

after involvement with Satanism, has shocked the whole nation. Pray for us

as we respond to this situation and that JSSM will really make a big

difference in this society."

 

Praise God for

the enthusiasm and support of students and friends of the JSSM;

a completed five-member national Board, thanks to the recent addition

of Mosche Bromet and Hedy Barrow;

the office renovation, the JSSM library and the JS magazine.

Please pray for

the new groups at Nickerie to be firmly established and bear good fruit;

more small groups, especially at the University of Suriname where only

the Medical Faculty has an active group;

God’s guidance and protection for the Board;

two full-time field staff; funds for transportation.

 

Czech Republic

Seeking the way

"A feeling of uncertainty currently pervades Czech culture. The search for

an eventual successor to President Vaclav Havel is accompanied by growing

concern that without his influence a moral vacuum could ensue.

"Amid a mostly atheist population, Vysokoškolské Biblické Hnutí (VBH) faces

a tough challenge in presenting the gospel," comments IFES Team Leader

David Pollendine. "But groups active at six universities organise events

such as evangelistic outings, film clubs, Bible studies and radio

broadcasts. A recent evangelistic rock concert drew some hostility, but led

to healthy discussions and many new contacts.

"We aim for a fully Czech-led movement, so part-time staff worker Romana

Michalkova and I are currently concentrating on recruiting helpers and

potential staff to join us on our regular group visits and training

weekends. The recent IFES European Student Evangelism Conference has really

helped to give our students a bigger vision for student witness and we will

be following this up at our July camp."

 

Praise God for

students across the Czech Republic who are actively sharing their faith;

existing and new contacts with student groups;

the VBH Board and Romana Michalkova.

Please pray for

the forthcoming leaders' training camp;

students to gain a national vision for VBH ministry;

graduate support;

a General Secretary;

a VBH office in Prague;

continuing working relationships with other student missions.

 

Nigeria

Fragility and growth

"After several years under one of the most militaristic dictatorial rules

in the world, Nigeria returned to democratic governance in June 1999. The

new civil government has been working for national rebirth, focussing on

instituting morality and accountability and eradicating corruption,"

reports Gideon Para-Mallam, National Director of Nigeria Fellowship of

Evangelical Students (NIFES). "Economic hardship is still with us,

however.

Ethnic violence and conflicts over the implementation of Sharia Islamic law

in some northern states have severely shaken our young democracy.

"This has been a year of growth for NIFES, despite disruption from lengthy

strikes by university and college staff. Students are increasingly excited

about our Discipleship Training Weekends and Missions & Evangelism

Training Weekends. In an environment where students are often caught up in

corruption, materialism and immorality, our emphasis is 'Consecration for

Service'. Student leaders' retreats exploring biblical perspectives on

morality, conscience, honesty and work ethics are already having a profound

effect in helping students serve God with integrity of heart on campus and

in society."

 

Praise God for

the transition to a democratically elected government;

successful Area Easter Conferences and May's inductive Bible study

training;

many professions of faith through NIFES' rural outreach programmes.

Please pray for

rural outreach 2000 (July - September);

preparations for the NIFES National Leaders' Retreat and National

Conference in 2001;

wisdom for the President and Government in the face of political,

religious and ethnic tensions;

the Sharia issue: three northern states are proceeding with full

implementation, but 19 others recently agreed not to do so;

those bereaved by religious and ethnic violence: NIFES graduate Rev

Northcott Andrew was among hundreds killed in Kaduna earlier this year.

Fact box

Area: 923,770 km2

Population: approx 114 million

NIFES groups: 400

Group size: 20-1,200 students

NIFES members: 35,000

NIFES staff: 45 full-time

 

Great Britain

Mission and maturity

"Student numbers continue to grow despite student grants being phased out.

More students live at home and more take part-time jobs to fund their

studies, making student communities less cohesive and the task of building

campus groups and organising corporate evangelism more challenging.

Relativism and pluralism dominate many people's thinking, especially about

ethical and religious matters," reports Keith Walker, World Mission

Co-ordinator for Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF).

"UCCF Christian Unions (CUs) are committed to promoting mission and

maturity. These two areas are now a key focus of our year-round training

programmes for student leaders. Gospel distribution projects have greatly

helped to give CUs evangelistic focus and an opportunity to train Christian

students in Bible study. At our September leaders' conference, Forum, we

will be launching a new project, in partnership with Scripture Gift

Mission, to distribute 400,000 copies of Mark's Gospel in the 2000-2001

academic year."

 

Praise God for

new CUs in a number of colleges;

a good intake of first-year students into the CUs;

the provision of staff and Relay (graduate volunteer) workers.

Please pray for

smooth leadership transitions as General Secretary Bob Horn hands over

to Paul Weston, and Nigel Lee (Head of Student Ministries) to John

Risbridger;

effectiveness of Identity, the Mark’s Gospel project;

continued development of student leaders able to maintain mission and

maturity as their CUs' focus.

Fact box:

Area: 230,000 km2

Population: approx 58 million

UCCF CUs: in more than 150 universities and colleges

CU size: 2-500 students

UCCF students: 12,000+

Update

ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT

A variety of short-term mission programmes take place during June to

August

in particular. Global Mission Projects for North American students include

Service Projects involving practical help and outreach to specific

communities and Lingua-Cultural Projects pairing participants with students

from the host country to share their lives and faith. Project locations

include East Asia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Guatemala and Guyana. Meanwhile, other

students will engage in service, outreach and teaching on Urban Projects of

four to eight weeks in several American cities.

IFES Summer Teams will again be active in European cities (in Belgium,

Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal and

Spain), reaching out both to the local population and to the many visiting

international students. Morning training sessions are followed by

evangelistic activities such as coffee bars, booktables, film or video

shows, open Bible studies, evangelistic lectures, street theatre, picnics

and pancake parties.

Please pray for many good contacts and many changed lives through all these

activities.

SUDDEN POSTPONEMENT

A student demonstration in Gambia on 10 April erupted into violence,

destruction of property and looting. Fourteen people died and more than 20

were injured, the majority students. The protests were over a student's

death some weeks earlier after an alleged beating by fire service

personnel, and the alleged rape of a student by a uniformed man. All

schools were closed down immediately after the riots. Students dispersed to

their homes and the Easter Conference of Fellowship of Evangelical Students

(FES) had to be postponed (see Gambia article, April/May 2000 issue).

Please pray for national healing and reconciliation, for FES students in

their response and for wisdom over re-scheduling this key FES training event.

Quote: "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our

hope in you." Psalm 33:22

_____________________________________________________

IFES is dependent on the generosity of our partners who give a small but

regular donation to support the work of global student witness. To find out

more about how you can play your part, or for more information about IFES

and our email service visit our website http://www.ifesworld.org or send an

email to info@ifesworld.org

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