With only one paid staff person, our entire ministry depends on partnerships with our volunteers and local Christian congregations. Our partners live out our mission of showing Christ’s love to the international students, scholars, and their families, and the relationships often live on, well after the students have gone home or moved out of the area. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact us.
There are a variety of opportunities for volunteers and students to interact in a small group setting. English Conversation Groups are one of our most popular for the students. English conversation groups meet weekly while schools are in session, giving internationals a chance to practice their spoken English, interact with native-speaker volunteers, and learn about local and national culture. Class size is usually 3 to 12 persons, and the format is very informal, like chatting with friends. Class schedules can be found on our Calendar. To learn more, or to sign up to attend an English Conversation Group, please contact us.
Friendship Families (or Friendship Partners) are formed by matching up one or two students or international families with a local family or individual. Then they do things together approximately once or twice per month. Activities can be of your choosing, such as inviting the internationals to your home for a meal or for a holiday celebration, or taking an excursion to see some local sights, like the zoo or going for a hike. All Friendship family hosts sign a covenant that ensures everyone’s safety and alignment with ISM’s mission. If you want to see what it’s like before committing, you may join an existing Friendship Family activity and experience it first hand. To learn more or apply to become a Friendship Family, please contact us.
Many international scholars bring their family with them, since they’ll be here for many months or years. Many young mothers feel very isolated, not knowing the culture and being so far from their extended family for support. Mom & Baby Playtime is an opportunity for them to connect with other international moms in the same situation, and provides a “play date” opportunity for the young children, as well as an opportunity to learn about Jesus. The group meets weekly at a local church for singing, readings from a children’s bible, and other activities such as crafts or outings. Volunteer leaders offer tips on parenting, and encourage and pray for and with group members. To learn more, please contact us.
There are a variety of opportunities for our ministry partners and students to share and celebrate local events and holiday festivities. Partner congregations host events such as Autumn Pumpkin Carving, Thanksgiving Dinner, and the ISM Annual Dinner, or “adopt-a-student” into your community group as a Friendship Partner. Individual volunteers can participate (or help host) our ISM monthly activities such as the Forest Park Balloon Glow, Hayride, Eagle Watching, or the August Furniture Give-away for incoming students. Friendship Families can invite students to help trim the Christmas tree, hand out Halloween candy, or to church with them, especially for special occasions like a baptism, wedding, Christmas Eve or Easter. ISM & partner-hosted activities can be found on our Calendar. To sign up to attend an event or activity, please click on its link, or feel free to contact us.
Bible Discussion Groups, like English Conversation Groups, meet weekly and are intimate, informal gatherings. They are led by seminary-trained volunteers. International participants receive a bi-lingual Bible to keep and read. If you would like to donate a Bible, or would like to participate in a Bible Discussion Group, please contact us.