One of our earliest experiences hosting International students was when our boys were young. Our two university students (one Chinese, the other, Japanese) were given the opportunity through a campus ministry to experience the American culture first hand. They spent a long weekend with us before returning to their respective schools. In that short amount of time, we shared our lives – they learning about us and our culture while returning the favor to us. Our boys loved learning about sports in their countries, how and what holidays they celebrated, the type of food they enjoyed and missed while in the States (ie. fried chicken feet – our youngest son still enjoys those.) The weekend forever impacted all of us.
Our church has been given the unique opportunity to experience varied world cultures/peoples through Bridges International, UNT branch. Bridges, Int. trains us and then matches us with incoming international students. This is not like a foreign exchange program, they all live in student housing in Denton. All Bridges, Int. asks is that we befriend them, for example: have them to our homes for dinner occasionally, let them experience a holiday with us, be there for them when differences in our culture need explaining, let them practice their ‘english’, discover meanings of our idioms, etc.
Like our first two international students, most are not Christian. They may be Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, or agnostic. All rarely, if ever, have been invited into friendship with Americans or into their homes. There may be opportunities where questions of faith come up. You will be welcome to share your story. During the training, we will be given guidelines on how to navigate this with the students. Mike Darling, our local Bridges, Int. contact will be available throughout the year to answer your questions.
For more information on how to participate in this ministry, please attend our informational meeting and training this Sunday, August 21 right after 2nd service. Snacks will be provided.
Truly, this opportunity will be life-impacting for you, your family and the students you befriend.
CBC Mission Board