Keynote Speaker: D.H. Bud Fuchs (BS Ed; MA Ed)
Bud and his wife Lois, live in Utah County, Utah. They are blessed with 4 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, and 10 grandchildren. Bud serves with North American Baptists Inc. as Cross-Cultural Trainer and in campus ministry with international students. He has been a pastor and missionary, reaching out to international students, immigrants, and refugees for more than 40 years. Bud is also the author of “Without a Passport” (withoutapassportbook.com).
To get to know Bud, we asked him to share a bit about himself, as well as what he will be presenting on October 13 at the CESLM Intercultural Ministries Conference at Bethany Chapel.
CESLM: Thanks Bud for participating in this interview and for coming out as our keynote speaker.
Bud: It’s an honor for me to come to Calgary to share and connect at your conference.
CESLM: Can you tell us a bit about your background. Where you grew up, how you became interested in working with internationals, and what God is doing in your ministry now.
Bud: I grew up in Billings, Montana, but my family would vacation for several weeks every other summer in Alberta. My Dad grew up in Alberta, near Torrington, from the age of 8-24, so we have many relatives in that area.
During my last year at high school church camp, I definitely knew God called me into international missions. To prepare, I studied for a BS Ed and MA Ed. After seminary, my wife and I served in two churches before going to Cameroon. Returning home after only three years because of health issues, I served as a youth and college pastor in a university town in North Dakota. While studying in seminary, I hung out with international classmates. So, connecting with international students was a natural progression. This began my desire and journey to reach this mostly unreached group of people.
Just over ten years later, I joined the staff at International Students Inc. (ISI) for 6 years. ISI is the sister organization of International Student Ministries of Canada (ISMC). We then went to Edmonton, Alberta where I served at Central Baptist as Pastor of Missions and Outreach. We focused mainly on reaching internationals.
Planning to go to Asia to teach ESL, we moved back to the United States in 2014 and began raising support. While living in Utah, where two of our sons were pastors, continued health issues derailed our goal. But the Lord had other things in mind. He placed us at Utah Valley University to serve internationals through ESL events, outreaches, as well as leading a monthly International Christian Fellowship.
CESLM: Prior to moving back to Utah, you led a Conversation Café ministry at a church in Edmonton. Tell us about how that ministry opened doors for you to share the Gospel and how lives were changed?
Bud: It was totally a team effort. Previously, some had tried, with little result, to run an ESL only focus class for international friends who were struggling with English. We teamed up to offer a more holistic approach, building trust and developing deeper relationships with newcomers. We kept a non-proselytizing approach at Conversation Cafe.
Our volunteer teams were all-stars! Because of their faithful work, we offered other events outside of Conversation Cafe where friendships developed with opportunities to talk at deeper levels of faith. We also offered Bible studies geared for internationals in several contexts: large groups, small groups, and one-on-one; as well, a few evangelistically-centered retreats.
International students and immigrants are hungry for Truth and desire to know about God. We saw dozens come to faith in Christ and return home with a zeal to share Christ with friends and family. Many of them were visiting university professors, working on their post-doctorate degree. One is now a pastor reaching immigrants of his own ethnic group.
CESLM: As a Cross Cultural Trainer, what do you see as possible opportunities and challenges churches face considering migration to North America?
Bud: According to the governments of Canada and the United States (US), in the 2016-17 school year over one million international students were studying in the US, and just under 500,000 in Canada. What an opportunity the Lord has given us!
According to International Student Ministries of Canada, more than 75% of international students never enter an English-speaking home while studying in North America. Statistics vary regarding immigrant and refugee populations flooding into North America, but the impact is staggering, and the Lord has allowed it for His purposes.
For everyone, there is always the danger of fear. But when we look at it through the lens of God’s Word we see He has a plan.
Acts 17:26-27 says, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.“ –NIV
Our churches need to set the tone in their community by embracing this opportunity to fulfill the greatest commandments—loving the Lord and loving our neighbour.
CESLM: Your book, Without a Passport, came out last year. Give us a few insights why you wrote the book and how it will help us reach the global communities in our neighbourhood?
Bud: This project began over two years ago. While recovering from two surgeries and contemplating what the Lord had for us as we prepared to resign from our assignment to go to Asia, I woke up one night with the Lord giving me the title of the book, as well as placing the basic outline upon my heart. I also felt a renewed sense that he desired for us to stay and reach internationals in our neighbourhood. The journey began—of late nights and weekends—praying and writing, rewriting and editing.
The book, intended to be motivational, is also a tool box of ideas. It’s available both in regular and large print (for the countless number of seniors who are the stars currently serving in this ministry). I pray that those not yet involved, will choose to be used by God.
It is my prayer, and I hope yours as well, that this burden for reaching internationals will be passed on through this book, with many realizing what an amazing privilege it is to reach the world—right where the Lord has placed each of us. And to do it Without A Passport.
CESLM: As keynote speaker, could you share a few tips about what we can expect to learn and take away from the Conference?
Bud: At events like these, I always learn something new from those the Lord has gifted in this area of ministry.
With many theories on how to do missions, I hope participants will learn that Jesus’ example in ministry was the best way for reaching our neighbours cross-culturally. Other key elements of this ministry also come from the Bible: Uniting in ministry together like Jesus prayed for us in John 17; and praying for and training volunteers from Matthew 9:37-38.
CESLM: Thanks Bud, for taking the time to share a bit about yourself, your ministry, and what our readers and conference attendees can gain by attending CESLM Fall Training Conference on October 13. Any last comments?
Bud: Pray for the planning team; for those who will serve us; for those who teach us that day; and for our hearts to be ready to learn and apply it in our own ministries.