Antoine Thenin explains the reasons behind Friends International’s motto
Friends international is a nationwide Christian charity, with Friends International Dorset being one of the branches.
The vision of Friends International is to see international students transformed by the Good News of Jesus so that they fully engage with the mission of the church in the world.
Did you know that one million international students come to the UK each year to either study English or enrol in higher education?
Most of those students come from countries that are closed to hearing about the Christian faith. However, when students come here, the cultural and religious pressures of home aren’t as present, and they are keen to hear about our hope and faith.
Here in Bournemouth we have sixty thousand international students all year round. Almost every evening in Bournemouth, a church reaches out to these students to welcome, befriend, and share God’s love. We have had hundreds of Muslim students from the Gulf hearing about the true identity of Jesus. Roman Catholic students have heard that our faith is based on grace and not on works. Some students have never heard the true story of Christmas and Easter, so what a wonderful opportunity we have here.
I myself was an international student when I came to Bournemouth. I was already a Christian but had many questions in mind. I was welcomed and loved beyond words. It led me to stay in Bournemouth and do an internship with Friends International, before gaining a degree from Moorlands Bible College, completing a two-year position with OM in Myanmar, and returning to Bournemouth where I am now a staff worker for Friends International. Since my return I have married a British lady and we have just welcomed our first child. This is just my story – imagine how the lives of sixty thousand other students could be transformed by Jesus.
Friends International Dorset’s mission is to work with the local churches to communicate the Good News of Jesus to international students in both word and deed and in whole life cross-cultural discipleship. This is why our motto is ‘transforming students, transforming nations’ – so students who have made a commitment to follow Jesus will go home and be a light to their families, communities, neighbours and nations.
The world is coming to our doorstep. Will you join us is showing God’s love to the lost?
Antoine Thenin, Friends International
You can find more information about Friends International here.