Considering welcoming an international student into your family this semester? It’s been quite a few years since Anthony & Nely Descher started participating in the iFriend Program, and they wanted to share a little bit of their experience.
“We met Patterson two year’s ago through the U of A program ‘Dinner in an American Home.’ In attendance that night were four South Korean students, Patterson, and his dad. We invited them to UBC the next day. Patterson and his dad attended the Sunday church service with us. They both fell asleep during the service! We invited Patterson again to church and he kept coming to UBC ever since. A few years later, he is still apart of our family! We are so thankful for him.
We realize inviting international students into your life and home can be uncomfortable in the beginning. We just want to encourage you in that it is okay to be nervous at first! Try not to worry about not being able to speak to them or even being able to understand them or they to understand you. The students are nervous as well, but they are excited to get to know you and for you to get to know them. The communication will gradually get better as you all become more comfortable with one another! Be sure to ask questions about them and their life back home. You could ask about their culture, the food they enjoy, their family, and even what they believe. Trust God to use those conversations for His glory, just as He has done in Patterson’s life!”
Patterson also wanted to share about the impact of the Descher family in his life as an international student just arriving to Fayetteville.
“As an international student from the Bahamas, I can truly say that I am a product of the iFriend program. One of the ways God allowed me to be introduced to the gospel was through I-Friend members Anthony and Neely Descher. Through persistent invitations to church, I started to tune into the message and be engaged on Sunday mornings. Eventually, I met Mark (the collage pastor), and was later discipled by a guy, Fee Kennedy, who was a college intern that year. Shortly after that, I was baptized by Mark Carter. What a blessing! God used a simple invitation to church which allowed the Holy Spirit to convict me of my ways. All in all, iFriend is a wonderful program, and has truly been a blessing in my life, and I thank the Lord for it.”
Written by Anthony & Nely Descher and Pattesron Hilaire