Following a very impressive welcome in French by Mike Smailes, our MC for the evening, the four serveurs set about attending their respective tables. Nicky King’s French menu was much appreciated and enjoyed! It was great to hear the buzz of conversation but the pièce de résistance was when ANTOINE THENIN delivered his visual presentation.
Antoine came to Bournemouth from France several years ago and whilst at language school he was given a flyer inviting him to the Hub Café at Lansdowne Church. He highlighted the benefit of flyering! Being involved at the Café, he came to see the importance of sharing God’s love with international students. For two years he was a Reach volunteer with Friends International here in Bournemouth, then studied theology at Moorlands College for two years before going to Myanmar for two years working with Operation Mobilisation, reaching out to Buddhists and Muslims. God has now brought him back to Bournemouth to lead the work of Friends International, Dorset.
This role comprises helping at two of the five church-run weekly local cafes, involvement with Bournemouth University International College, meeting with international students from BU and the Arts University at the weekly Global Café, one-to-one Bible studies and promoting the work of Friends International, Dorset to local churches. He is currently preparing for this year’s summer Bournemouth International Outreach, working with UBM and YWAM, who are also heading to Bournemouth to hold missions.
Antoine feels that there is so much to be done to share God’s love with more international students and his desire is to make contact with other higher educational institutions in the town e.g. the Chiropractic College and Bournemouth & Poole College – and many more language schools.
From September he will have an experienced FI Reach volunteer and a Moorlands College placement student working alongside him.
The first outreach to international students in Bournemouth took place during the summer of 1969 – do look out for upcoming details of the golden celebrations proposed for this autumn!
With the potential to develop the work further, Antoine needs to be funded sufficiently to enable him to work full-time. Please do speak to him if you feel you can partner with him in order to reach more of the 60,000 international students who come to our area each year.
Linda Fox (with help from others)