Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe, even if you were told. Hab.  1:9

The recently launched Anglican International Student Ministry Network (AISMN) held its first conference to connect Anglicans seeking to reach the 1.6 million international students currently in North America. Led by co-directors Lisa and Leiton Chinn, your SAMS Missionary Rev. Dr. Mary McDonald, and assisted by New Wineskins Director Jenny Noyes.

“I speak for the network founders, we were utterly amazed at the Lord bringing twenty-two participants to the conference from Canada, China, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina to Eastern University outside of Philadelphia, PA on May 31. Many stayed the weekend for additional training at the Association of Christians Ministering among Internationals (ACMI) conference, McDonald stated.

AISMN is a group of Anglicans involved in international student ministry around the world. They are committed to offering hospitality to students and scholars who study and work in a country not their own. When there is interest and trust, we share our Christian faith.

The true value of networking was experienced as people from different churches shared their ideas. TIPS, Truro International Program Services, founders Lisa and Leiton Chinn as well as Linda Sellevaag, Karen Kirk, Rev. David Jones, and recent TIPS intern Julie Meadows told fabulous success stories of the program’s 33-year ministry.  Jose Garrigo the current leader of TIPS was teleconferenced in to give his valuable insights on making the Anglican churches more welcoming to outsiders including having more multi-ethnic staff and involving internationals in the planning and running of the programs early on so it is truly “their” program.

Lisa Oelerich, Alpha USA/New England was also Zoomed in to share about the Alpha for internationals materials and encouraged people to use it as an excellent resource to bring internationals to Christ.

SAMS Bridger Deb Carr and her husband Chuck Carr along with Bo and Lilly Ubbens spoke of befriending and “parenting” international students at Trinity Seminary in Ambridge, PA.

Jean and Steve Louie, at William and Mary University in Virginia said their, “International Student ministry is organic and grew from nothing. They just help students adjust to American culture. The ministry is eat, eat, eat, plus professional mentoring.”  They have a Meet & Greet in Fall, a winery outing, football, Lunar New Year, and celebrate holidays with the students. The couple was thrilled to network with other Anglican ministering among internationals and we are thrilled to have them in the network!

Mary and Jack McDonald shared of their ministry at Va Tech in Blacksburg, Va and suggested a possible regional conference for international students.

ASIMN was blessed by the attendance of internationals, Syncia Yin Chan, with ISMC National Team Communications and Nicole Schlicther the city-director from Quebec Canada. We even had 2 guests from China sharing about ISM in China.  Additionally, we had a guest share about the Southern Baptist denomination’s experience with ISM.

The ASIMN was “A mountaintop experience!” according to Dr. Mike Medley, former Director of Intensive English Program at Eastern Mennonite Univ. and now Parish Administrator at Church of the Incarnation. He brought Ross Gulliver, back from 10 months ESL teaching in China, who shared about Conversation Corners at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA and listed ideas for connecting with other ministries.

The conference time concluded with prayer for each other’s outreach to internationals and plans for the continued ministry of AISMN which hopes to include tracks at various Synod gatherings, the Provincial Assembly and New Wineskins in 2019.

If you would like to be involved with the network or to have a copy of the notes from this historic conference, please write marymcdonald@sams-usa.org.