Ken and I lived in the boys’ dormitory at Trevecca for three years, while we were both in graduate school. Those are definitely some of the most, well, um, interesting years of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. There were so many of the guys who found their callings, their spouses, the careers, and it was great to be a part of their lives. Even though they are all graduated and long gone, I still keep in touch with many of them and love to see what God is doing in them and through them.
One of the things we soon realized after moving into the dorm nearly 9 years ago was that there were many students who never went home for breaks. Some chose to stay and work, some simply didn’t want to return home, but others had no choice — especially the international students.
Since Ken is not an American, we’ve always had a soft place in our hearts for immigrants. There are many restrictions placed on international students, especially in regard to where and how much they can work. Typically, they are restricted to only working on campus at student worker rates. While this is okay while school is in session, it becomes difficult over breaks like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring breaks when they cannot afford to go home, but the school’s cafeteria is closed. While we were in the dorm, we tried to watch out for (and feed!) international students. Now that we’ve moved off campus, I’ve tended to forget that we have students for whom breaks are very stressful because of a lack of financial, food, and kitchen resources.
Right now there are international Students from South Korea, The Philippines, Kenya, Madagascar, United Kingdom, Serbia, Canada, and The Bahamas at Trevecca in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Trevecca is seeking to gather a food pantry together for next week’s spring break and for future needs of international students. They are collecting snacks, gift cards, and microwaveable items to include in break gift packs for these students. Suggested items are microwaveable rice and soup; non-refrigerated meals like Hormel; gift cards to Subway, Sonic, or New Life Café. Items can be dropped off at the Office of Admissions in the lower floor of the Library during business hours (or I can take them!).
Deuteronomy 10:17-19 NIV says, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
***This year during Lent, I’m going to highlight organizations and individuals that are giving to this community, and around the world. Most are faith-based, some are not. All are serving the poor. My focus is drawing nearer to the heart of God, by drawing nearer to those He cares for: the poor, the widows, the outcasts, the foreigner, the orphans.