Elisa and I left Central Asia 5 weeks ago and enjoyed a much needed break. We got to visit her family in Italy and go on vacation with her parents and one of her sisters to the beautiful island of Cyprus (we even visited Salamis, one of the cities that Paul went to on his first missionary journey). At the end of August, though, much to my dismay, I had to kiss Elisa goodbye as I left for America, while she stayed behind to wait for her green card.
I visited some friends and family and then moved out to Columbia, MO. This past week was my first week working there with Chi Alpha (XA) at the University of Missouri. In the past year, the ministry has exploded! At the first service (before I was there), they had over 100 visitors due to the hard work of the staff and student leaders connecting with new students in the week before school started. It’s a little intimidating jumping into the group when it at once feels so familiar (since I was involved in that same ministry for 5 years) and foreign (since almost all of the students I knew have graduated).
My main focus, though, is not working with all these new American students, but with the 3000+ international students that study at MU every year. I’m getting into the swing of things, making contact with the over 200 new internationals who attended XA and International Student Friendship (ISF–the international student arm of XA) events before I even arrived. I had dinner with a couple Chinese students who came to service on Tuesday, and I met with both a Chinese student and an Iranian one to practice conversational English. English conversation partners are one of the ways we hope to connect many of the Christian students in our ministry with those who’ve never heard the Gospel. We also plan to start an international Bible study, for those students who have already expressed interest in learning more about Jesus, and a weekly English class, which, on top of helping their English, will help many of the internationals to feel comfortable coming to the XA house where many of the ministry’s events take place.
- Please pray that Elisa gets her green card and can come to the States soon.
- Pray for the internationals and American students to develop real friendships that open doors for the Gospel.
- Pray that we raise the remainder of our budget since the cost of living is higher in the States than in Central Asia