Dear friends,

With Ukraine captivating our attention these days, it is surely God-ordained that our mission conference this year focused on international student ministry in Ukraine.

Classes for Spring 2022 began on January 17. The IBC board met for their semi-annual meeting on Jan. 27-28, and
we hosted a “dessert connection” that some of you were able to zoom into on the 27th. January morphed into February without a whimper, and no update from me (oops). Our annual missions conference took place February 7-10, earlier in the school year than usual. Chuck and Yulia Helton, accompanied by their six-year-old daughter, were our speakers. Chuck is Navajo and graduated from IBC in 2013. He has had a fascination with other cultures and peoples since he first met Koreans who came to minister on the Navajo Reservation when he was a child.

As a young adult, Chuck availed himself of several opportunities to travel abroad, including to Ukraine. Through a
Christian online dating service, he was already acquainted with Yulia, a new believer who had a passion for international students. They were married in May of 2014.

Myself, Yulia, Chuck, and Emily in front of the student center blackboard

It was such an encouragement to see how God has used Chuck and Yulia to reach out to students in Ukraine. They both have a deep passion to share the Good News of salvation through Christ with college and university students, especially those from around the world.

The Heltons had every intention of returning to Kyiv several weeks ago, but God allowed their flights to be canceled before actual fighting broke out. They are now engaged with international students in Phoenix while they await an opportunity to return.

Also, during the month of February, I was involved in planning and implementing the annual Western Region Association of North American Missions conference the 17th and 18th. Much of the IBC staff was attending the Association of Biblical Higher Education meeting in Orlando, Florida at the same time. Everyone is finally back at IBC now and launching full steam into term two.

I praise God for some great opportunities to be involved in student lives this semester through Personal Finance class, music lessons, Introduction to Missions, Life Coaching, and overseeing Christian Service Assignments.

Please join us in praying:

  • For peace for the Heltons as they wait for God’s timing to return to Kyiv. Pray for God’s mercy on the people of Ukraine. May many, including international students, come to Christ amid such uncertainty and trauma.
  • For God’s continued work in the lives of the IBC students as they study, serve, and grow.
  • For God’s blessing as the students prepare for their annual ministry trip at the end of March (location still to be determined).

Thank you again for your faithfulness to the Lord that is expressed in your faithfulness to me. God bless you!

Martha Gushee