Once every three years, delegates from the member organizations of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) meet in a World Assembly. This year the Assembly convened July 4-11 in Amsterdam, Holland. Harvey Cozart, the InterVarsity staff at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, was one of the participants from the United States.
“As I reflect upon the World Assembly gathering,” says Harvey, “what had the most impact on me were the personal testimonies of God’s faithfulness through persecution and suffering. I remember being speechless as I sat with a brother from Rwanda and listened to him share how his whole family were victims of the genocide tragedy that had taken place in his country. Yet he continues to preach the gospel to the people who took the lives of his family. A staff worker from Kazakhstan shared with me the struggle she faces, keeping her Christianity a secret for fear of being exiled by her family. I remember praying with a brother from Liberia who couldn’t go back to his country to be with his wife and children because of the dangers of war.
As I listened to these stories, the one thing I noticed was that none of the people seemed to be deterred from declaring the Word. I was struck by the depth of their faith in God and their strong desire to move forward in preaching the gospel at their universities. I was so enriched by the lives of my brothers and sisters around the world. I began to understand the Scripture that says, ‘Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.’ (I Peter 5:9) No matter how great the trial or persecution, I can stand firm against the enemy, resist him, and faithfully preach the gospel because I know my brothers and sisters throughout the world are doing the same. Now when I pray for God’s mission in the world, my prayer is fueled by the faces of my brothers and sisters who were at World Assembly. I feel privileged to have participated in World Assembly, as it has helped me to know the reality of God’s global calling and how I am a part of his divine plan.”