Friday, February 26, 2010

Bible Study

Through last fall we had a Bible study for internationals going. Due to graduations and busy schedules for the students, we have taken a step back to look at a better way to go forward with it. I have met with a few of our leaders and we are trying to find a time and place for this to happen. We all want it to happen, their schedules are all just so busy.

International Bible studies are really great. The most interesting thing is to hear how each culture is affected by the Word. God speaks to different people, in different situations, differently. As students share their experiences and understanding, it sheds new light on how God interacts with us as individuals. Each culture tends to think in terms of its own microcosm. These studies open eyes and hearts.

As God speaks through each culture represented, we learn more about him. The students seem to learn so much more than even simple one-on-one studies. That's why these studies are so vital.

Pray with us that we will be able to work with busy schedules to make this happen. As students get more involved and begin to learn more, we are sure it will lead to interest from students who have very little knowledge of the Bible. We have seen this interest generated before, with good results.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Web Site

We are in the process of updating our web site, It is going to be a process. We have put up a temporary update, a new look. Over the next few weeks, it will be a complete redesign. Make sure you head over and take a look. Also, look here for notice of the complete new update.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peace Through Understanding

One of the interesting things we do is to share cultures among students by sharing a meal at different ethnic restaurants each month. This helps to tear down walls that can divide. Jesus shared many things around food. It might seem like a little thing, but if it can bring people together, it is a good thing.This month we took students to a Japenese restaurant. Some tried new foods. Getting them to try new things is a first step. Once they try one new thing, others are not so out of reach.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

International Thanksgiving Banquet - November 21, 2009

We had another VERY successful banquet this year. In the last few years, we have had 80-85 people. This year, we had just over 100. It was great to see so many students.

This is clearly the biggest event we do all year. It is where we put so much effort. Why? It is the greatest chance we have to share the Gospel to this many students. Christmas and Easter are other great opportunities, but there are not many students on campus during those holidays.

This year, on Thanksgiving Day, we were blessed to have Richard join us. We went to a friend's house for lunch, then to Carlita's parent's home for dinner. It's the first time we ate two meals on the Day, and we were stuffed. Richard had a great time and it helped him feel part of a family.

Richard is a Christian from Ghana. He is new to campus this year, but is already planning to be instrumental in the growth of our ministry in the future. He comes from a strong background, so we are looking for ways to use him to grow our outreach. Look to hear great things about him in the very near future.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elena - November 16, 2009

Elena is from Kyrgyzstan. That is a small country at the foot of the Himalayan mountains. There are two major religions; Islam and Orthodox. Elena professes neither.

We met Elena this semester. Kyrgyzstan's official language is Russian, so we made a connection because of that (remember, Vira came from Ukraine). Getting to know her, she is a semi-pro photographer. That made one more point of connection with J.R. Her passion for photography makes her open to a lot of things here in the U.S.

One of those things is an American church. She seemed very curious as we chatted over dinner one evening, so I told her about the new photographer's group at our church, Smyrna Assembly. She wanted to meet the other photographers. When I told her that many of them bring their cameras to church on Sunday to photograph the service, whe was intrigued. So, when I suggested she join us one Sunday, so she could photograph the service, she was eager.

That Sunday, we picked her up for church. She was excited to see the inside of an American church and to photograph the service. Once the service started, she was amazed at the dancing and singing. Our congregation is a very animated one, obviously, and gave her much to photograph. After the service, she stated that she never imagined a service could be that fun. I think we may get her to come back.

Pray for Elena

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Unexpected Opportunities - October 2009

One of the things I try to always remind people of is the fact that on the college campus we have opportunities to reach out to students from places where the Gospel is not allowed. Many times, these opportunities also tie in to the news we see every day. Waled provides just such an opportunity.

Waled comes to us this year from Lybia. Libya is a country that is completely closed to the Gospel. It has questionable ties in the past and a leader who has made the news often, and not in a good way. Without God bringing Waled here, he may never have had an opportunity to see or hear the Gospel.

I have had several opportunities to meet with Waled and get to know him. More importantly, he is getting a chance to know me and learning to trust me. This trust is leading to opportunities to share snippets of the Gospel and giving me chances to meet his needs. That is just what Jesus would do.

Please pray that we will have many more opportunities and that God will soften his heart to hear what we have to say.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Forming Beliefs - September 2009

College is a time for questioning and forming beliefs. As Christians, we somewhat fear that for our children. We hope by the time they reach college we have done our jobs to give them the right tools to stand by what we have taught them. Without those tools, they can be easily led astray by other students or professors. I have seen it many times and it saddens my heart to see the enemy working so hard against God's children.

In international student ministry, though, we get a chance to hit back at the enemy. Most of the international students we meet are in the same position; questioning what they believe and what they have been taught. As we get to know them, we learn where they doubts are and we can address them with the truths of the Gospel. Addressing these doubts can be very persuasive.

One such student is Umut, from Turkey. In our many conversations with Umut (he likes to be called "Turk"), we have learned a bit about both him and Turkey. Turkey is a Muslim nation, but is considered a secular Muslim nation. That simply means that, while most follow the rituals and letter of the law, it does not truly impact their lives. This definitely describes Umut.

Umut is like so many Christian young people. He does not see the relevance of his faith to his life. We are hoping over the next several months to show him that, while Islam isn't relevant to his life, Christianity is. His heart seems firm, but not completely hardened. We are praying the Holy Spirit will use us to soften his heart and that he will see just what Jesus can mean to him.