Friday, June 14, 2013
Philip was on his way to Gaza when the Holy Spirit influenced him to go up near the Ethiopian traveler and determine just where he was in his walk of faith. It’s obvious that Philip had found someone who was searching for something else. Something more. And Philip was there at just the right time to answer his questions. Of course, we know this whole ordeal was orchestrated by the divine work of God. He brings people to those who have answers. Ian and I recently had the opportunity to meet Nan from Shang Hai who arrived for the first time in the U.S. to begin studying at Thunderbird School of Global Management. We picked him up at the airport. We were the first Americans he met. We took him to the school and got him settled, then on to Walmart where Ian was very helpful in getting him what he needed for dorm life. Next, we were off to the Apple store where he purchased a new computer and iphone. And finally for his first meal in the states, we took him to In & Out, a famous burger place here in Phoenix (also his first drive-thru!). This scenario has been quite common-place for us as we work with international students here. However, Nan was different. He said he wasn’t here to necessarily get a degree, get a career and get rich like the majority of students do. He said there was something missing in his life, there had to be something more. For the first time… the first time, we told Nan about a God that designed all things and wanted all peoples to know he had the answers. That is the joy of international ministry! However, other friends we have made have traveled on after graduation.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
The potential is quite amazing as we meet the new incoming international students. So many are very curious about American culture and I have been astonished to learn that quite a few know that the Bible has influenced our way of life and are interested in understanding how it all fits together. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in and does his work with divine appointments. Monica Commick is a volunteer who helps organize area churches with events for the internationals that attend Thunderbird University. With her help, we were able to host a welcome party at a local church where about 45 new students arrived to share in a meal and fellowship. It was an opportunity for us to get to know their stories, find out why they are here and where they have come from and for us to share further opportunities for them to stay involved. There are English Bible studies for the wives of students. There are one on one studies. There are discussion groups. And we have a Thursday evening Bible study group. Even though three of the students have only been here one semester, they have agreed to be leaders and encourage others to come to this study while only one of them, Owen, is the only Christian. Please pray for Owen, Coco and Yu Shr as they reach out on campus.
We met a new couple from Keelung, Taiwan, Peter and Bettina. Peter is a Christian already so we hope to provide help in encouraging Bettina to learn what Jesus has done for her. We have such a short time with these students, from one semester, one year or at the most two years. It is the most frustrating aspect of our current ministry. That is why your prayers are more important than ever. Planting seeds that grow quickly are not for us to control. We plant and water but it is God who makes it grow (I Cor. 3:6). We know that God wants all people to be saved. Pray we all can do our part in the time we have with those we divinely run into.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Every culture has its celebrations. In the spring, Buddhist celebrate Buddha’s birthday which was before the birth of Christ in 563 B.C.. Muslims celebrate the birth of Mohammed in 570 A.D. also in the spring. There are countless holidays among every civilization on earth. Even the Israelites had sanctioned many feast and festivals from the Sabbath to the Passover. We were created to celebrate. Solomon tells us there is a time to dance and a time to laugh. People celebrate many things. In the midst of finals, projects, papers and dissertations all due before the holidays, the international students of Thunderbird University take a break and enjoy Asian Regional night when students from many different cultures perform traditional dances and singing. They also cook many ethnic culinary dishes. The members of our Bible study group all participated and showed off their skills in traditional Chinese dancing, kung fu and in song.
Pictured here are Taiwanese students doing a traditional tribal dance that reminded us of our time in Taiwan. Our first cultural experience was watching a similar dance way back on our internship in 1986 when we served at the Home of God’s Love! It was obvious they were able to shed the stress of their semester finals and enjoy this time of intercultural celebration. We are blessed with students this semester who really are curious about God and how he works in our lives. I have been so impressed with their inquisitiveness and how they study on their own and come with sincere questions. To be in such a place in such a time to share with these particular students is a reason to celebrate. God is so obviously bringing them along to faith and we are excited to see their enthusiasm. As we celebrate our own traditional holidays during this time, remind yourself that our brothers and sisters on the mission field all over the world are participating and sharing the love of Jesus especially at this time. Thank you for giving us the ability to serve the students God has put in our path. May your time of celebration truly be joyous and full of thanksgiving for what God is doing in the world!