During the spring of 2013, while serving in her sixteenth year as the Director of International Student Ministry at the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California, Paula Parker sensed God prompting her to write down some of the stories and discoveries from this engaging work. The focus would be helping churches build relationships with internationals in their own cities. This idea was exciting, but the timing was terrible. Her twins’ college graduations and her daughter’s wedding were only weeks away. Paula wrestled with God a bit hoping to postpone this work, but the conviction
remained strong. So she set one week aside and cleared her schedule as much as possible. Grabbing a used envelope and praying fervently, she scribbled down every key topic that came to mind and dove into the project. Ten days later, Friendship Matters was complete. In the process of getting it to print, some friends suggested a name for this new venture: International Friends Meet.
Later that year, Paula concluded her work at the church and began to devote more time to consulting, speaking, training, and developing materials for churches and ministries who serve (or want to serve) international students. God has faithfully continued to show her the way forward, and in the company of friends and ministry partners, the work of International Friends Meet has grown.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58