“Well, things are going great I think–we ran out of most food and we lost track of people after the name tags ran out at 300. Everyone is having fun though!”
A couple weeks ago we hosted our “3rd Annual International Student Welcome Bonfire” at the Wilson House! With us being walking distance from campus this year, we were so excited to see whom the Lord would bring. Through my new role working with internationals, and the opportunity I had to serve alongside the University through the two orientation weeks, I got to meet tons of new international students–many of whom came to the bonfire and brought friends.
In the weeks leading up to the bonfire, as the event continued to “grow,” I realized I needed some help! My awesome co-laborers (whom I’m so thankful to work with at the BCM), jumped right in and helped me plan all the logistics and even provided manpower and equipment to make it all happen. At the last minute an awesome band from the University composed of internationals agreed to perform for part of the night. We set up a stage, sound system, DJ, fire pits, tables, chairs, some twinkly lights, yard games, a raffle with prizes, an awesome map, and a feast of hot dogs, chips, cookies, fruit & s’mores!
Oh and, can I just say, the provision of the hot dogs, snacks, and s’mores this year–it took an army! After I sent out an email to a group of my partners in ministry, it took less then 48 hours for the list to be filled up as people literally began dropping off the items needed at my door! I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to you for serving these students in this way–SUCH a blessing! The event would not have been possible without your help!
As the food and supplies were pouring in, I remember thinking this is a TON of food, and there’s no way we will ever use all of this. Believe it or not, by about 10:30pm, the food was gone! Luckily, we had plenty of s’mores supplies so that kept everyone happy.
At one point in the night, my boss called to see how things were going and that was right around the time we actually ran out of name tags. It’s still a topic of debate as to how three-hundred students danced the night away in our backyard, and yet it happened.
God really used this event to remind me how incredible it is to be apart of the body of Christ. I thought about the dozens of families who invested time and finances into providing the food and supplies, others who helped set up and clean up, the students who led the crowd in dances throughout the night, the band who performed music using their gifting, and even the American believers who came represented a dozen different churches and campus ministries around town. There were a number of I-friend families who attended with their student early on in the night. As I walked around and followed up afterward, it was so neat to hear of Americans making plans to meet up after this event with some of the internationals they had connected with! The connections made through this bonfire among believers and internationals made it fully worth all of the planning and preparation.
There were moments in the chaos when I would pause and glance up–my eyes locked on the map hanging from the tree across the yard, a constant reminder of the hundreds of students from all over the world hanging out together in this backyard. He does exceedingly beyond all we can ask or think! Why? To make His name great!
To get to use the space, the time, the resources, the music in such a way for His glory and namesake, it just doesn’t get any better until we do this together before the throne one day with these and other nations, tribes and tongues, all echoing holy, holy, holy!
And that’s why it all matters right? So we dance with joy, shout with praise and proclaim with boldness of this God whose love conquered the grave and removed my heart of stone and gave a heart of flesh by whom I cry out Abba Father. We want to celebrate all of this on that day with these students.
If you are local and have a desire to grab lunch or coffee and get to know an international student from the bonfire, please contact me! I have more contact information then I know what to do with right now!
Written by Courtney Osborn (NAMB missionary working alongside UBC as International Student Ministries Coordinator).