Leon & Hope Harper
East Bay Director
Leon and Hope have been serving on staff with ISI for 23 years. During these years he has helped start the ISI work on most of the area schools in providing services to international students. He has also served as Regional Director for 3 years. Now he is the director for the work on all schools in the Bay Area. We seek to see students on all campuses in our region connected with a Christian friend to help them with adjusting to life here and to know our Savior if they desire.
Calen & Sheryl Thomas
San Francisco Staff
“Sheryl and I enjoy learning about new cultures, meeting new people, eating international foods, camping, fishing, gardening, traveling and snow skiing. Sheryl is an avid reader.
I currently work as City Mobilizer in San Francisco; I network international Students together with church volunteers. I enjoy students and our wonderful volunteers who come from a variety of professions.
My interest in working with international students started after I lived in Sendai, Japan after college. There I taught English for a couple of years. Afterwards, I traveled around the world visiting Korea, Thailand, Nepal, Philippines, India, Europe and other countries. I have an undergrad degree in accounting and have worked as regional Accounting Manager and Controller for national conservation organizations for years prior to beginning with ISI. My graduate degree is a Masters in Divinity from Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley California in Global Studies.”
Bob & Becky Durstenfeld
Ministry Representative (Santa Clara)
Bob & Becky serve as our Ministry Representatives for the ministry at Santa Clara University (SCU) in Santa Clara, Ca. They help students there and oversee the volunteer network which serves the community of students at SCU. Please contact them to find out more about their ministry.
Simon & Becky Zeigler
Western Regional Director/Additional Locations
Simon and Becky Zeigler welcome and serve international students and scholars at UC Davis. Simon has been on staff since 1988 and Becky since 1998. As the Western Regional Field Director, Simon encourages, mentors and supervises staff in the eight Western States (CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, UT, NV, AZ) as they lead teams to serve international students on college and university campuses. Becky is a 10hr/wk Campus Staff who leads programs for international women, including a weekly Bible Discussion. The Zeiglers live in Vacaville and have one daughter (born 2002).
South Bay Staff
I came to US as an international student from Taiwan and earned my master degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Iowa. I understand the needs, struggles and challenges for international students. When I studied in Iowa, there were 2 families from church that took care of me and helped me. This has big impact in my life. So I want to pass on Christ’s love to help more international students.
My family has been involved in International Students Fellowship (ISF) at De Anza since 2013. We all enjoy the fellowship and connect with students. I work with churches and volunteers to reach international students. In ISF I help with music, food and all that need to be done.
John & Joyce Steers
John & Joyce have been coming along side international students through ISI-Monterey for over 20 years and John has been on staff with ISI since 2006. Together, they are actively investing their time, energy and lives into many international students, often even before the students themselves arrive in America. With five (grown) children of their own, many of these internationals have become just like (grown) sons and daughters to them, remaining in close contact even after leaving Monterey.
Santa Cruz Staff
I began volunteering with ISI Santa Cruz in 1992, befriending graduate and post-docs students at UCSC. in 2001 I joined ISI staff organizing ISI friendship program with volunteers from 18 churches in Santa Cruz area. My first international friendships were with visiting professors from China at UC Berkeley in 1980’s whom I tutored in English through my church, The wonderful friendships I experience with them became a lifelong passion for bringing others into such friendships through ISI.
I have a B.A. in English, speak Mandarin, am Vice President of the UCSC Interfaith Council, teach social dance, and am writing a book on the Common Cold. my husband Bob is an Emergency Room physician We have four children and three grandchildren.
San Jose Staff
Gary enjoys hiking, playing sports and games, and digging into the Bible with his students. He joined ISI in 2017, after he was inspired by the life and ministry of a former ISI staffmember, Kate Hinke, and is partnering with the teams at San Jose State, DeAnza College, and UC Santa Cruz.
Gary grew up in Southern California and joined campus ministry with IVCF while he was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz. He became an ESL instructor after graduation and then joined a small Vineyard church-planting team in India. He also met his wife, Polly, right after graduation and they got married 18 months after he got back to the U.S. They hosted international students in their homes over the years and had their only son, Trent, in 2008. When Polly and Trent died in an accident at the beginning of 2017, Gary found God’s comfort, as well as a new purpose and sense of calling with International Students.