UFM supports the IFES InterAction programme which offers placements of one-to-two years in national student movements across Europe or with international student ministry. We spoke to two individuals about their experiences serving with the InterAction training programme.
George Sewall is ministering to students in Athens, Greece
“Since September 2022, I have been serving with IFES InterAction in Athens, working alongside IFES staff, equipping students in sharing the gospel with their peers. Athens is home to around 70,000 students. Most are nominally Greek Orthodox, with less than 40 evangelical students sharing the gospel on city campuses.
“During a year on the UCCF Relay programme in the UK, I became convinced that mission is a core part of God’s character and that, as Christians, we should be willing to go and serve God wherever he wills. National IFES movements are always interested in having people come and help them in bringing the gospel to universities across Europe. I therefore took the leap and applied to serve cross-culturally.
“Since starting, I have been getting to know the students at church and encouraging them to share their faith with their friends. Together, we have planned Bible studies and outreach events. Our desire is for every student to have the chance to hear and respond to the gospel.
“It is clear that there is a longing on campus to discuss deeper topics. Students are desperately searching for hope. It is so exciting to share how the Bible speaks into these areas, and to serve God by holding out the hope given through the life-transforming gospel of Jesus.”
Abigail Malstead is serving international students in Turin, Italy
“For the past two years, I have been based in Turin, following a mission and discipleship training year with Christian Unions Ireland. With 14,000 international students here, it has been a privilege to come alongside some of them, supported by the International Church of Turin, the only evangelical English-speaking church in the city. Having been an international student myself, I empathise with those far from home.
“I am regularly asked what I do for a living. It is tricky, but fun, to explain to someone who has no concept of student ministry or mission work.
“The other day, a friend asked, confused, what my agenda is when I meet up with students for Bible study. It was with great joy that I found I could honestly reply that I did not have one! I see my role as to help students explore and grow; to give them the space to question, doubt, and fall more in love with Jesus, rather than reaching a specific level of understanding, or trying to convert them. For what power do I have to do any of that? A wonderful thing I am learning here is my need to cling to the Lord. I am constantly faced with situations that overwhelm me or people I do not know how to love well. I am encouraged daily by reminding myself that I do not need to know, or have, the solution. It is all Christ’s work and mine is to hold fast to him by faith.”