Newsletter – June 2021: Prayer is Essential

Prayer is Essential!

"...we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you"   2nd Chronicles 20:12

The CDC, Ohio’s governor, and the OSU President continue to update and change the covid restrictions.  We are hopeful that we will be able to meet with International students in person more and more as we see more volunteers vaccinated and as more students get vaccinated.  At this point, we have reserved the Ohio Union for August 24, the first day of classes, to host the International Student Welcome Party.  However, at this point, the OSU student guidelines only allow up to 10 students to attend.  We continue to plan and prepare, but we do not know for sure yet whether we will be able to have ‘normal’ outreach events to help us connect with new students...

Meanwhile, international news is also conflicting.  We have heard reports from multiple sources that the embassy in China is now issuing 2,000 VISAs a day, up from 0 a day for the last year.  While other countries like Chile and India are experiencing huge surges in covid related illnesses and deaths while medical supplies grow more and more scarce.  Yet, we are hopeful that God will open the doors for international students to travel to Columbus.  Please join with us in prayer as we wait expectantly for safe opportunities to connect and show hospitality to the new students.  

In hopeful expectation, we are renewing a program for churches to help us serve students.  We have heard many churches had to delay their STM (Short Term Mission) Trips for last year, and cancel their plans again this year because of travel restrictions.  Therefore, we are creating an opportunity for a Reverse STM (Short Term Mission) Trip.  What is a Reverse STM?  It is when we stay at home and the world comes to us.  

Similar - We take 10-14 days vacation and devote the time to God for reaching the world and fulfilling the great commission.  We get the opportunity to co-labor with God in sharing the good news with people from hard to reach and unreached places of the world (80% of the International students in Central Ohio are from those places).

Different - We stay at home, instead of traveling across the world.  It costs a lot less than traditional STM trips.

Dates: August 12th-22nd or August 19th-29th

We are currently planning for 4 groups of 4-10 people to help us this fall in serving international students. There will be openings for 2 groups in each of the 2 time frames in August. Please check with your church’s missions pastor to see if there might be interest in learning more. For more information, please contact Jerry Shellhaas at IFI at

--Phil (IFI Columbus Area Director)