An International Friendship Day of Fellowship
Amongst mashed potatoes, buttered rolls, and green beans, hundreds of students from International Friendship got to experience the American tradition of Thanksgiving in the Family Life Center. International Friendship is a group that teaches English as a second language to adults through the use of Scripture. They are under the oversight of the Missions department and led faithfully by Tom and Sarah Riley. The Champion Forest chapter of International Friendship sees over 200 students every Thursday for free classes. Within the student body, over 30 different countries are represented.
The work of International Friendship is so important because for many students, English classes are one of the first places that they go to when they arrive in the States. Knowing this fact, International Friendship is strategically placed at local churches. Through the work of IF, the church is able to meet a practical need for language acquisition. More importantly, through hosting these classes, they are able to leave a good impression about the local church on the student’s lives. For some students, they have come from countries where Christianity was not a major religion. Experiencing the church in a positive light is the first step towards getting the gospel to them.
While the great commission commands everyone to go and tell the good news to all nations, tongues, and tribes, sometimes the church is blessed with the people coming to them. This is the case at International Friendship. People may come looking for English, but they will leave with experiencing the love of Christ from one of His children. For some, this is the first time in their life they have heard about Jesus and who He really is.
The beauty of the Thanksgiving feast was not due to the nicely decorated tables or the generously piled plates. The beauty of this Thanksgiving meal was the fact that it was a glimpse, a foreshadow, into what the Lord promises will one day happen. One day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus is Lord. Every nation will be represented and the beautiful mosaic of people that God has created will feast together in thanks and praise for who He is. To enjoy this Thanksgiving meal, was to peek into the windows of heaven and see that one day, we will be a people unified not by our culture, language, politics, or enjoyment of the same food, but we will be unified by our Creator. At that one day promised feast, we will be living rightly: as one in praise of our Lord and Savior. That is the beauty of the gospel, there is space for everyone at the Lord’s table.