Our second joint OMF and Friends International (FI) training day was planned to take place physically and in Cambridge on Saturday 2 May. What actually took place last Saturday, was an online conference using Zoom. Almost one hundred people, from four different continents, signed in to find out why we need to start preparing international students to return home. We learned the importance of helping them to not merely survive as Christians, back in their home culture, but to thrive and share the good news with others.
Our conference opened with a plenary by Sue Burt (Friends International Director for Returnees), she spoke clearly about the need to go the extra mile when disciplining internationals. She suggested teaching students how to become “indigenous Christians”: able to study God’s word for themselves, in their own language.
Two seminars followed, run on parallel Zoom conferences. These unpacked what it looks like to disciple students returning to China (OMF’s Chinese Diaspora Returnee Ministries) and Japan (OMF worker Liz Jeggo, serving in Japan). Two further seminars focussed on Reaching the Hard to Reach (Rachel Chard, FI Head of Hard to Reach) and Reading the Bible with Internationals (Ruby Lu, Internationals Minister, StAG Cambridge). Virtual break-out rooms enabled discussion and Q+A.
We praise God that this technology that enabled us to run online conferences was developed before the COVID-19 outbreak. We have four more online conferences planned for the autumn, more details are available here.
You can find our more about the work of Friends International on their website.
OMF (UK) East of England Area Representative
Tim and his wife Sue served at the OMF school at Chefoo in Malaysia and at the International Centre in Singapore. Tim now works as the Area Rep for the East of England based near Cambridge.