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International Student Chapel
2012-11-21

Photo by Heidi Martens

John Johnson, M.A.
International Student Services Coordinator

An International Student Chapel service was held Wednesday, November 21, in the Affleck Chapel on the Providence University College and Seminary Chapel. At Providence there are 90 international students from more than 20 different countries representing all the inhabited continents of the world. Most are Christian believers wanting a Christian University education in the English language. Providence delivers a holistic education to these students. Their wellbeing is enhanced by Providence staff, faculty, and fellow students. Many are enrolled in the English Language Institute.

Photo by Heidi Martens

International students can feel lost and nameless amidst the large student populations of many Canadian public universities, but the Providence experience includes a strong sense of community, part of which is expressed in regular student chapel times. International students have the opportunity to lead special chapel services that greatly bless the Canadian students. Worship bands are assembled that represent multiple countries and familiar choruses and hymns are sung in languages unknown to many of the Canadian students.

International chapels feature individual international students including personal testimonies of how God has worked in their lives, in their countries, and how they discovered Providence. The November 21 chapel featured Ulrike Neufeld and Rennvik Reimer, both of Paraguay. In keeping with the biblical vision, the nations at Providence assemble and sing praises to God in multiple tongues. The quiet, the shy, the “still frightened in a new land” are all included in this assembly. Canadians encircle the internationals and pray for them and out of prayer come friendships.

Photo by Heidi Martens

Providence cares about International students and desires a positive experience for them during their sojourn in Canada. The inside joke is that International students cry when they arrive at Providence and then they cry when they leave. The reasons for tears at the end of the education are very different from the reasons when students arrive. Crying upon arrival is because the weather is cold, there is no subway, and the shopping is lousy in Otterburne. The tears upon leaving have to do with parting friendships, meaningful education, and the peace that many find in Canada.

International student led chapels occur once each semester. The next International Chapel is on February 27, 2013.

 
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