Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jesus-Centered Driveway Party

Last night we hosted our second "International Cafe" here at the Wildwood Summer Project. I call it a Jesus-centered driveway party!   It's all hands on deck every Thursday evening as we light Tiki torches, set out extra tables, brew coffee, set up snacks and get a fire going in the backyard fire bowl.  Come 9:00pm we cue the music and people start showing up for a night of talking and hanging out.
Throughout the week we pass out flyers to any of the international students who we meet and just before the party begins, we walk up and down the surrounding streets inviting people over to hang out.  As the evening progresses, pretty much every person that passes by drops in for at least a few minutes and sometimes a few hours.

We host the cafe at the Project house where most of our students live.  The purpose of this event is to create a space where we can spend time with our new friends (mostly international students) who live and work in Wildwood.   We eat S'mores, sometimes play games, but mostly we talk about life and spiritual beliefs.

Our first week kicked off with way more people than we expected! We met students from Malaysia, Thailand, China, Ireland, Romania.....and a really fun pack of dudes from Poughkeepsie.....New York.   At one point I looked around and noticed that there were easily twice as many students I didn't know as those that I did.  Certainly more than 60 students came including a girl from Thailand named "Mint".

Mint walked up to one of our staff named Lauren and immediately asked her "Are you on staff with Cru?"  It was actually a pretty odd question since most of these students don't know anything about our ministry and really haven't ever heard of it before!  When Lauren explained that in fact she was on staff, Mint told her about how she had become a follower of Jesus recently after hearing the gospel from a student on a Cru missions trip to her campus in Thailand!  She said "I love Jesus Christ too.  I know the Gospel of God!"

As Lauren and Mint continued to talk, Mint expressed her heart to communicate the good news to the friends she is living and working with this summer.  Apparently Dunkin Donuts has 20 Thai students working for them here in Wildwood this summer!  (Between two locations)  That was an awesome meeting!

I agree with Lauren, who said later "What I felt while talking to Mint was inexpressible joy!  What an incredible gift to get to see the fruit of a ministry thousands of miles away!  And what an amazing reminder that wherever we are, God is at work, whether on a campus in Asia or on the Jersey Shore!

So not only are we ministering to and among international students, but we are literally co-laboring beside International students here in Wildwood!

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