Riverside, Calif., -- For over four years, the church has provided opportunities for international young adults to gain vocational experience in their church and community by partnering with MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP).
What they didn’t expect from this experience, was to be transformed in the process.
“IVEP is a program that transforms congregations,” explains Jeff Wright, pastor of Madison Street Bible Church. “Through IVEP, our congregation discovered the world.”
This year, the church invited 24-year-old Suvojit Mondal, who dreams of becoming a priest, from Bangladesh to participate as a Church Community Worker in their congregation. The church is helping that dream become a reality by providing a space within their congregation for him to learn and gain job skills.
“When I came to the church, I am not sure more than a handful of our people could have found Bangladesh on world map, or were all that interested in finding Bangladesh on a world map,” explains Wright. “They have had a kind of North American culture myopia lifted from their eyes. The news matter more, the people in the world matter more. The ways that IVEP transformed this congregation are many and deep.”
Mondal is thankful to have an opportunity in a wide variety pastoral tasks within the church and with neighborhood engagement within community. “I am pretty glad to be here,” explains Mondal. “They are very kind people. They are helping me.” He enjoys visiting and connecting with families in the congregation.
Christopher Bates, associate pastor at Madison Street Bible Church, believes in that hosting IVEPers increases global awareness and helps build compassion. “IVEP helps expand our world view. It plays a part in helping us have compassion beyond our own city. It is a constant learning experience for us,” explains Bates. “We get to experience the world right here.”
Want to make a difference in the life of a young adult? We are currently looking for partner agencies that can provide IVEP participants with a wide variety of vocational experiences. We need businesses, churches and other organizations that can offer volunteer opportunities for international young adults to gain job skills.