Today was our annual Love the City: Serve Local Workday. We served two of our Local Direct Support Ministries – Loving Choices and Compassion House, as well as helped do some sprucing up of the outside of the UBC Mission House. Here are some highlights.
Category Archives: Jerusalem
This year we were so privileged once again to host International Christmas Fest at UBC, with a “Christmas lights theme!” What an awesome opportunity this event is for so many ministries who have a specific reach to international students here in Fayetteville, to all come together for the purpose of sharing the true meaning of Christmas. Several students from various counties shared about how Christmas is celebrated in their hometowns, the infamous “ICT Band” performed, and several others used their various talents to make the show unique—these students are so gifted in many ways! Santa made an appearance to tell the true Christmas Story and then the Gospel was shared as we are all reminded of how all of these Christmas lights point us to the true Light of the World—Christ! This year we had more students then previous years and from so many different countries.
Following the program, we made our way over to Fellowship Hall for the “Festival of Flavors!” International students prepared some dishes from their countries, while some generous American families provided crockpots of soup and dozens of delicious cookies! This was an awesome opportunity to reconnect with students who we hadn’t seen in a while!
Personally, I was reminded of how gracious the Lord has been to place some specific students in my life this year—and to consider the impact the Gospel continues to have as it falls upon their ears. Even just this week, one of my dear Muslim friends asked for a bible and if I would study it with her!! I was so encouraged she got to come to Christmas Fest as it was another opportunity for her to be washed in the Word and loved on by more believers. A highlight of the evening was when an Iraqi family I met in the park with the Carters in August showed up to the event (though none of us specifically thought to invite them!), and then over the meal time, the husband asked for a bible he could read! We are SO excited to see how God uses His Word to reveal Himself to this Muslim family who is seeking Truth!
And a HUGE thank you to so many of you, who prepared delicious food, came to serve throughout the night, and prayed for these students and our time with them—I cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are to you all!
Written by Courtney Osborn
Our fourth annual Christmas Store, an outreach of Second Mile Ministries, has been a wonderful blessing to our community. This year this outreach has flowed through the regular weekly ministry of Second Mile. As those in our community come in throughout the week, Second Mile is able to declare the Gospel through personal evangelism, demonstrate the Gospel in assisting temporal needs, and demonstrate the love of Christ by helping gift our community this Christmas season. A huge thanks to the many within UBC’s body who serve faithfully each week at Second Mile, and others who have volunteered time and resources (see below) into this holiday outreach.
“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).