Update from the High School Ministry team in Guatemala

GOOOAAAAALLLLLL! Cries of joy and sorrow erupted from the streets of Antigua, Guatemala as our high school team sat chatting on the roof of our hotel’s. There is nothing like being in Central America when the World Cup Final is happening!

There is also something very unique and special about taking high school students to a foreign country. This is Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship second year doing a high school global partnership. Once again, we are partnering with Student International to help serve and work in Magdalena, Guatemala. Before we go to Magdalena and actually begin working and living with the local Guatemalan people there, we have spent 3 days in Antigua learning about what it means to enter into different cultures and how to work in team. Below is one story from our time in Antigua.

Be Open, Watch, and Learn. These were the instructions for our team as we went out in pairs to the central square of Antigua. Surrounded by colonial spanish architecture and different shops students were invited to find a bench and ‘Be Open, Watch, and Learn’. The purpose of this exercise was to help our team begin to see beyond the tourists and shop stands and begin to ‘see’ the Guatemalan people. This exercise was framed with a study of the first half of this article (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/things-no-one-tells-you-about-going-short-term-mission-trips) ending with studying Mark 9:33-37. With this article and Scripture shaping our experience, students pointed out all that they had seen and learned. They identified the different type of people groups who seemed to be walking around the square.

Students shared all the great things that they observed, and asked questions about the things that didn’t fit in their North American cultural worldview. Already, the team is growing in love and compassion for the people of Guatemala. Desiring to be open to the Guatemalan culture and to learn from it, but also desiring to move forward in reciprocal relationships.

It is Monday, and we are heading to Magdelana this evening to meet our host families and begin serving at our work sites tomorrow. There is a sense of excitement and hope in our team as we prepare to enter into the experience that we came here for. After our study of Ja’irus and the Bleeding Women, we are also aware that Jesus wants to restore us as well as those around us. Please pray for out team as we live, eat, serve, and laugh with the Guatemalan people and each other. Pray that God would soften our hearts for what he is trying to teach us about his heart for not only us but also the world he created. 

Celebrating the life of Yvonne Woods

“With the passing of Yvonne Woods, we say farewell to a faithful partner and significant contributor to the story of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada,”  says President Geri Rodman.

Yvonne, the widow of former Inter-Varsity Canada General Secretary C. Stacey Woods, died on Monday, April 7, 2014 at the age of 98. Throughout her life, she was actively committed to student ministry in Canada and around the world through the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 15 at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA.  The service begins at 11 a.m. EST and can be viewed via podcast. Her remains will be buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto at a later date. For more details on the service scroll to the end of this story.

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Inter-Varsity Canada President Geri Rodman with Yvonne Woods at the 80th anniversary of the Canadian movement.

Yvonne Katherine Richie grew up in Toronto in a home where Inter-Varsity’s ministry was greatly supported.   Her mother, Joyce Ritchie, directed Girls’ Camp at Ontario Pioneer Camp and served on the camp committee in the 1930s. Inter-Varsity staff worker and Order of Canada recipient Cathie Nicholl lived with the Ritchies when both women were in their teens.

Yvonne was a student leader in Inter-Varsity’s University of Toronto chapter in the early 1930s, reporting to the board in 1934 that prayer meetings on campus continued even through exams. When Stacey fell in love with Yvonne, he offered to resign from his position as General Secretary, concerned that the organization would not be ready to support a married couple. The Inter-Varsity board quickly welcomed Yvonne as Stacey’s partner and refused his offer of resignation.

Yvonne and Stacey married in 1938, beginning a life-long partnership in student ministry. Stacey would often refer female students to his wife, believing it best that males be counselled and discipled by males and females by females. Together they led many students to Christ and mentored many more to faithful discipleship in Jesus Christ.

Even when Stacey and Yvonne left Canada, the couple continued to be connected and supportive of student ministry here.   When Stacey passed away in 1983, Yvonne continued her active interest and support of Inter-Varsity and IFES.

Yvonne rarely missed an opportunity to celebrate milestones and important events with Inter-Varsity in Canada. She was a special guest at both our 60th and 80th anniversaries and at the IFES World Assembly held in Canada in 2007.

When introducing Yvonne at the 6oth anniversary celebrations, Inter-Varsity Canada staffworker Cathie Nichol commented that the Woods’ “combined teamwork in the student field was just tremendous. Stacey would start one thing after another and he was ably supported by Yvonne.”

“With Yvonne’s death,” said Geri Rodman, “a chapter of our history, going almost back to the beginning of our ministry, comes to a close. But the legacy left by both Yvonne and Stacey continues today as we see young people committing their lives to Jesus Christ.”

Read a tribute from IFES General Secretary Daniel K. Bourdanné here.

For details on the memorial service, click here.