Every Thursday, a group of volunteers gathers at the Student Center on the campus of Wayne State University to help foreign students get acclimated to life in the United States. They help them learn the English language, feed them lunch, and lead them in Bible study. Off-campus activities also take place, such as seasonal parities, church concerts and programs, socials, and even fun at the lake.
We Are Family
It is wonderful how quickly bonds are formed. Students from the other side of the world become close friends and part of the International Student Ministry (ISM) family. The group is made up of mostly Chinese students, but several local students have also discovered the kindness, fellowship, helpfulness, and love that makes this ministry so special.
Christian Care Giving
The volunteers come alongside these students in their everyday lives; listening to their stories, and getting to know them on a more personal basis. One middle-aged student, Renay, became part of ISM shortly before her grandson was shot and killed. She came to the group a few days after the incident, knowing she would get the caring hugs, reassurances, and prayer that she needed so badly.
ISM students also extend the care that they have been given as they get involved with community efforts such as Habitat for Humanity. Here they are able share hope in tangible ways into the lives of others.
A Home Away From Home
Through ISM, students from faraway lands are made to ‘feel at home.’ They enjoy wide variety of activities, many of which they have never done before and we tend to take for granted. Often, these students are welcomed into the homes of the volunteers to celebrate holidays like Easter, complete with bunnies, eggs, and candy. They also hear the true story of Easter, God’s love to us all through His Son Jesus Christ, in both Chinese and English.
During the warmer months, they enjoy a day at the lake, including a boat ride which is for many a new experience!
When couples give birth, their babies are welcomed in the ISM family with unbounded enthusiasm and pampering from their new “American grandparents!”
God So Loved the World
In the midst of all the fun, it is such a blessing to be able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with these students by building relationships and being in the study of God’s Word together on a weekly basis. Then, each year, comes the time to move forward in the student’s education. There are often tearful goodbyes as they leave for post-graduate work.
How to Get Involved
There are many ways for congregations to extend God’s love to these students including sharing a meal or two, “adopting” a student, praying for the ministry, or through financial support.
To connect with the Wayne University ministry, you can contact Bob Dickhudt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Michigan, there are 10 unique college ministries on campuses such as the University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, Oakland University, Western Michigan, and Grand Valley State University. To find an international outreach ministry on a campus near you, please visit the International Student Ministries, Inc. website. Contact information for each location is available on the Ministries page.