By Abi Christian

16 Countries and Counting Down

The Tonga Fellowship of Evangelical Students (TFES) is celebrating the birth of a new student movement! Earlier this year, four Christians felt God calling them to begin raising up Christian leaders who were biblically mature and passionate about the gospel. Six weeks later, over 100 students had gotten involved in their Wednesday lunchtime gatherings.

We’re celebrating right along with TFES, InterVarsity’s sister movement through the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). IFES has a vision to build self-sustaining, evangelical student movements in every country of the world.

Are they near this goal? 170 countries in the world have universities. IFES has student movements in all but 16 of them. We serve IFES’s goal through InterVarsity Link. Here’s how Link operates:

  1. Who does Link send? Link sends InterVarsity staff (newbies and veterans), recent alumni, and some current students to build and plant student chapters on foreign campuses. College seniors have even studied abroad in communities of 2 or 3 and helped plant an IFES chapter.

  2. Where does Link send people?  Everywhere. Movements in Slovenia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Trinidad are asking for more workers. The biggest IFES movement is in Nigeria, with only 40 field staff working with 40,000 students.

  3. Why does Link send? Because the harvest is plentiful! In the late 1980s, an American student on a global trek to Ukraine (when it was still part of the Soviet Union) wanted to share the gospel with the students they were serving. He asked if anyone was interested in following Jesus. Fifteen hands went up. Soon after that trip, Link sent fulltime staff members to follow up with the event. Seven of those 15 students became the first Ukrainian staff team. Now their outreach events bring 100-125 students together every summer for English lessons and Bible study.

Tonight in Madison, Wisconsin, we’re commissioning new Link staff to go out and share God’s love with students all over the world. Check out Link’s website to learn more. Students in every country are hungry for God. What more of a reason do we need?

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Praise God! Lets try to get to the final 16 in the next 5 years (10 max). We have so many staff in the US- it is time we go!

Is there a list of the final 16 countries somewhere? I did not see it readily accessible from IFES' website.

<P>Thanks for asking! These countries currently have no IFES presence: Aruba, Bahamas, Grenada, St. Vincent &amp; Grenadines, East Timor, Sao Tome &amp; Principe, Malta, Cape Verde Isles, Comoros, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Solomon Island. Please be praying for students there!</P>

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