Every four years IFES hold a global gathering of representatives of the student movements across the world. It is a joyful celebration of the unity we have in Him and how He is working through us. Each World Assembly, TSCF sends a delegation of staff and students to represent New Zealand and to bring back all they learn and experience to share with us.

At World Assembly 2023, in Jakarta, Indonesia, TSCF was represented by: Christina Bateson, Ethan Tattersall, Hannah White, Liam Hunter (Student participants); Kate McClelland (who also represented TSCF on the World Assembly programme team), David Hodgkinson, KJ Millar, Ani Kartikasari (Staff/Associate staff ); Ben Carswell (National Director); Tom Broughton (Board); Animoa Goold (outgoing IFES Board Member and current TSCF vice president); Paul Windsor (IFES Board nominee, now elected, and current TSCF Board Member).

We asked Hannah, Liam, Ethan and Christina to share with us what they learnt and experienced and the memories that they will treasure.

What was a favourite new dish or snack you tried?

H: Indonesian fried noodles were a highlight. They were served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a variety of noodles, seasonings and vegetables. They tasted great!

L: I never would have thought that I would be eating fried rice for breakfast, but by the end of the conference I was fully on board with the idea!

E: There was so much good food, but the fish dishes and tropical fruit were amazing!

C: I enjoyed all the fruit that was available at every meal. Many of the people I met shared snacks from their home countries. These included snacks from America, the Netherlands, Europe, Thailand, Mexico, and Finland.



What was one session or part of the conference that you wish you could have brought your campus group to and why?

L: I wish I could have brought my whole fellowship to every main session because they were filled with so much wisdom from the Psalms. One of my favourites sessions was when Reverend Kuzipa Nalwanba from Zambia spoke from Psalm 90 and challenged us to think about what it means for a student to gain a heart of wisdom. The Psalm helped us to understand that time is a gift, human life is only meaningful when guided by God and that’s God’s greatness puts human finitude in perspective.

E: The “Engaging the University” session by Vinoth Ramachandra was very impactful for me. He gave great advice on how to engage students on campus, by “changing the conversations that change the world.”

C: We met in small groups to discuss sessions, I think I would have liked to share that experience of discussing important topics with people who have the same aim, but a different cultural background and approach. It was an opportunity to hear other perspectives that I usually wouldn’t and to think about where my perspectives (and those of my TSCF campus group) come from.

H: One part I would have loved to bring everyone from Christian Fellowship to would be the night sessions. There was a range of topics such as creation care, mental health, justice, and a few others. It was a chance to delve into how God had intended us to look after the planet, our minds, and all people and although we fall short, and sin has taken captive of so many people, there is hope and we serve a just God who cares for us.



Tell us about somebody you met at World Assembly. What was it that struck you about them?

E: I met a staff worker from Latvia who shared an amazing story of how they found Jesus.

C: I met a student who lived in a country where it is very difficult to be a Christian. He was the only Christian student on his campus. His perseverance was inspiring.

H: I met a student from Canada. She was raised in a Muslim family. She decided to go to church where she gave her life to Christ. This impacted her whole family and now they are all Christians. She is a kind and caring person always putting others before herself she is a great role model and truly inspiring.

L: Charlie was one of my roommates and is from the Philippines. He had such a heart for God and his passion for ministry and sharing the gospel was infectious. He was eager to learn about NZ and what my fellowship was like and was awesome to share stories with and hangout with during the conference.

What is something that was surprising or unexpected about World Assembly?

C: With everyone being from different nations and contexts, I expected that we would all be dealing with very different issues on our campuses. While for some that was true, there were lots of questions asked by students from nations very different to New Zealand, that I think were quite relevant to what we deal with on our campuses.

H: One thing that surprised me was the diversity and large representation of people at World Assembly. Not only was every continent represented, but over 160 countries were there. I found myself having deep conversations with people I just met, and I loved how everyone was so open to praying for each other too. It was a great time of encouragement as we heard from new movements that have been established and of others that have seen incredible growth.

L: I was really struck by was the overall unity of the conference. There were 845 delegates there from all different walks of life and vastly different cultures and yet we were all united by Christ. The only way to describe the conference was it was truly a little slice of heaven, where people of every tribe and tongue gathered to worship the Lord and share in fellowship.

E: I was surprised at how consistent the theology and values were for everyone I met at the conference. I found it easy to connect and talk about deep issues (particularly in the small groups) with students and staff from around the world regarding their respective contexts. It revealed to me how universal and relevant Jesus’ teaching is to all people. It was like we were citizens of an invisible kingdom, with a very special connection through the body of Christ.



What is one lesson you will hold on to?

L: I came home with a new perspective on global ministry and the work that God is doing throughout the world. But something that really struck me was what we learnt in the session on Psalm 105 and 106 which painted the picture of our unfaithfulness and God’s faithfulness. I will continue to trip up, but I can be certain that God is always watching over me and his faithfulness will never fail me.

H: One lesson I learned is that God can use each one of us to plant seeds in those around us. Time is short, and we must unite as a body of Christ to expand God’s kingdom. So, I have learned that I need to be ready and available to allow the Holy Spirit to work through me. God wants a relationship with all humankind and as a Christian, it’s important to answer tough questions and be open to spreading the gospel wherever we are.

C: Don’t worry so much if you can’t do ministry in the same way that others can. Find what you can do and do it well.

E: The main quote that stuck with me was ‘Think Global, Act Local’. This will encourage me in the future to remember that the acts I do in my local community can have global effects, and it is important to keep that in perspective.