*This blog post has been rewritten and all names and other identifiable information and the photo have been removed for the protection of all parties concerned. After reading the post, the international student was somewhat fearful. She said she had never had her photo associated with anything she has said, and because she comes from a country that does not allow freedom of religion and many other freedoms we so easily enjoy here in the United States, she was not comfortable being identified so openly. This was a good lesson for me on several levels. If you enjoy the blessings of liberty in this country, please take time to thank God for that, and make a point to thank a veteran or an active service man or woman the next time you see one.
We had an interesting lunch on Sunday. We got to have an "international experience" without even leaving our area! One of our young friends, a college student, has made friends with a student from another country and we enjoyed lunch together. We've been trying to find the chance to meet our friend's friend for a while now, so we were thrilled. The girls are having a little break from school before summer classes start, so the timing was right.
Both girls are graduate students at a nearby University. They met this year when our friend joined a program to befriend an international student new to the school and country. While they have totally different majors, they have become great friends and have done many fun things together.
We did a lot of laughing at lunch because my hubby and I had so many questions for the international student that we barely gave her a chance to eat! We found out where she was from and a little bit about her family. Because she lives in a country with a political and religious culture very different from ours, we were curious about how her life back home differed from ours here in the States.
We also found out how she got into the international program at here and how she got interested in her field. She told us that she saw this program was available and not even knowing anything about it, she applied so she could have the opportunity to come to the United States to study. It is very intensive, and she will earn a masters degree in one year!
There is a great local church in our area which has an outreach program to the international students in the community. We found out that this student has attended services there and it has been a way she has been able to connect with some American Christians. Hubby, our friend, and myself, all being committed Christians, naturally were curious as to her religious background and status. I asked her if her family were Christians. She said they are not, and in fact they don't practice any religion. Amazingly, she said they she really didn't know anything about Christianity until she came to this country at the beginning of the current school year. I then asked her if, since she has been here, she has embraced Christianity herself. She thought a moment and then said, "I don't know. I really enjoy being around the Christians. I find them to be very kind." I know she will probably read this blog post, so I want to add a little personal note to her:
~~ That makes me happy, dear friend, that you have found Christians to be kind. As followers of Jesus Christ, Christians desire to become more and more like Him. We are not a perfect people group, but we know we have been forgiven of our sins, and we trust our eternity to the love of the One who loves us with an everlasting love. My hope is that you too will come to trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I would be happy to talk to you more about this if you are interested. We loved meeting you!~~
In addition to completing her degree by August, one of this students goals is to learn how to drive before she returns to her country, something she is very excited about. She will begin lessons soon.
I loved getting to know this student a little bit, and I love our friend's heart in befriending an international student this year! I would like to ask all my Christian blogger friends to pray for both of these girls as they each have many personal challenges. I believe that God has a plan for each of their lives. Please pray that He will reveal it to them in His own time and in His own way.