I return to this blog nearly two years after the internship, and it brings tears to my eyes to read what I wrote at the close of that chapter of my life:
“I will probably never be a missionary to China… Instead, just by going to UTD, I can engage with hundreds of people from China. Those students at UTD aren't just your average citizens, either. They must study for government administered exams to get visas for foreign study. Their families must be able to afford the tuition at an American university. The students who come to UTD from China are smart, wealthy, young, and the most likely demographic to change their culture. And they are coming to our doorstep hungry to hear about Jesus!
My task is just to introduce them to the true God and watch as he changes their lives.”
In the two years since the end of my internship with Focus, I have gotten to see God answer my prayer. I have met wonderful new friends from all over the world like Ruirui, Julie, Chao, Sunny, and Danni.
Ruirui comes from a part of China where tensions run high between different ethnic groups. The only religious people she knew before coming to the U.S. were Uyghurs - a Muslim group in Western China that has recently been in the news due to violent clashes with police. Over the past two years, she and I have studied the Bible one-on-one. Her questions are sometimes difficult, and I find myself saying, “I don’t know,” a lot, but she is slowly walking the narrow path that leads to Jesus. When she went back to China to visit her parents last December, she told them she has been studying the Bible and wants to be a Christian. Her parents may not be happy with her decision, but I am so proud of her!
I met Danni at UTD event for international students two years ago, and we became friends instantly. We studied the Bible together, and I got to baptize her in the swimming pool on campus that November (it was really cold!!). Now she is overcoming cultural differences related to her upbringing in China and ministering to teenagers right here in the U.S. You can go read her blog here to hear what God has done in her life.
|From left to right: Ruirui, Me, Danni, Mandy, and Debbie|
As I look at these amazing young women and at others, I see that God has answered my prayer for international students at UT Dallas. What is more exciting than seeing lives change for the better?
Since August 2013, I have also been the Intern Coordinator for nine Focus interns. That means I have to try to keep them on track with assignments, due dates, and fundraising. Even though I was supposed to be “coordinating” them, they ministered to me in countless ways. I am sad that their internship is over now, but glad that five of them have decided to remain on our staff either as staff ministers or for a second year internship.
Now I am getting to know the ten new interns who will be joining our staff this August: Cody, Matt B., Kaitlyn, Christian, Stephen, Miriam, Ana, Rachel, Sarah, and James. They are now in the process of preparing and fundraising for their ten-month internship. Based on what I know of them so far, I think the 2014-2015 school year will be an exciting one for God’s kingdom!
If you are reading this blog, it’s probably either because you love me or you’re excited about God’s mission (or both!). If so, I want to invite you to support me and Focus and join in what God is doing at the college campuses. You have the opportunity to be a part of the big, amazing things that God wants to do in the lives of students! Please pray for Focus, our staff and students, and consider supporting us with a monthly donation. To learn more about supporting Focus, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or view our online donation page at http://anyfocus.org/updates/donation.
May God bless you in everything you do!