I’ve been at it for 3 weeks now with International Student Friendship (ISF), the international outreach of Chi Alpha (XA), here at Mizzou, and it’s amazing! I spend a lot more time on my computer responding to emails and making spreadsheets than I’d anticipated, but it’s paying off. Many internationals are now meeting with students every other week as conversation partners and, hopefully soon, friends. One of the greatest things has been seeing how much the students really want to reach out and love internationals. In Kazakhstan, trying to get the student leaders to meet with non-believers often felt like pulling teeth–they had just grown up in a church culture that hadn’t instilled that outreach spirit. But these students are taking to like it’s completely normal. Smack me, please, if I ever seem to be taking that for granted!
I’m teaching two English classes a week, too, and the students seem to be enjoying it–and learning! Apart from helping them with their English, one of the goals of the classes is to help familiarize the internationals with the Chi Alpha house (since that’s where we meet) and to hopefully make them feel that it’s a place that they can come to study or hangout, like many of the Americans do.
Last week was also our first international Bible study! 8 internationals came (mostly from China, but also from Taiwan and South Korea). We talked about the idea that there’s more to life than just the physical and the mental–there’s a spiritual aspect as well. They all seemed very interested, and were excited to come again this week when we’ll be talking more specifically about who Jesus is. One girl in particular seemed quite excited about learning more about Jesus, and I hope to meet with her this week to talk and answer some of her questions.