Ministry is never a task done from a distance. But this year, more than any previous year, walking alongside international students has taken on a new reality and closeness. Instead of the one-hour Small Group slot at a familiar table in Wentworth Building, ministry occurs online, offering little windows into real personal spaces.
Katrina* has the same real background for our Zoom one-to-one times – a hallway of a shared house that became her makeshift room. She has waded through homelessness, joblessness, illness and hospitalisation this year. We have been reading the Bible together for about two years. This semester, we are reading 1 Peter together. It is under her tough circumstances that these words really hit home for both of us:
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Katrina is not the only student who has found this a tough year.
How do we walk alongside students through these reality shocks?
How do we become better prepared for future realities of suffering?
What does Christ-honouring faith look like under such circumstances?
How do God’s people persevere in faith until the last day?
What should faithful ministry look like in light of all these?
These are some of the questions and prayers I have been wrestling through this year. While we continue to ponder on these questions, we can yet cry out our heart’s amen to this: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
(* Not her real name)
Senior Staff – euFocus
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