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Students reach out to internationals aboard riverboat
October 27, 2003
By Ryan Szrama
Nearly one-fourth of Louisville’s international college students boarded the Belle of Louisville Oct. 11 for a time of fun and fellowship on the famous riverboat. Ready to meet and befriend them were many students and faculty from Boyce College and Southern Seminary, along with members of several local churches.
For the second year in a row, more than 70 volunteers took part in making the International Student Friendship Cruise a success. Made possible by several sponsoring churches, the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Boyce’s National Center for Youth Ministry, the cruise served as an initial relationship-building event for international students and friendship partners.
More than 500 international students representing 37 different countries participated in the free three-hour cruise, which featured games, food and gifts. Some 70 percent of the students are from countries in the so-called 10/40 Window.
The international students completed surveys on which they could request to be paired with friendship partners or even to receive copies of the Bible or the “Jesus” film in their native languages. Many of those surveyed requested copies of the Bible and the film, and 170 requested friendship partners.
Over the course of the school year, the friendship partners will be responsible for building relationships with the international students.
“This is a rare opportunity to reach these students,” said Randy Smith, assistant professor of missions at Boyce College. “We spend millions of dollars sending people abroad every year, but God has brought these students right to our doorstep.”
The partners’ goal is to eventually share the Gospel with the internationals personally or through Gospel-oriented events.
“God has really put a burden on my heart for people of other cultures,” said student Chris Bumbalough. “I had an awesome time gathering together with the internationals to sing, dance and get to know one another.”
Bumbalough and other students are already planning English lessons for and other meetings with the Chinese students they befriended.
They hope that these friendships and relationships will be useful for planting seeds for the Gospel and that the Gospel will go home with the students literally to the ends of the earth.