This last week Calvary welcomed all incoming students for the 2019 school year.
There were many activities planned for the students to get to know one another and break that awkward feeling of being new. From an intense “Where’s Waldo” search to donuts and worship, students really found themselves moving into their new home with greater ease.
Here at the International Student Services we are excited to welcome two new international students. Megumi Grace Matsui and Moses Waswa are now officially Calvary Warriors!
Grace is a student from Japan and is studying Business Administration. One activity that she would say was her favorite from this last week was the Talent Show put on by some of our returning Calvary students. Many individuals got up on stage, but Grace thought that the skits were the best. She says that they were “so good and so fun”!
Grace looks forward to living in the Christian community here on campus. She is excited to make friends here who will help encourage her on her walk with Christ.
Moses is a student from Uganda and he is here studying Biblical Counseling. The week had a lot of activities packed into it, but Moses’ favorite one was the candle game. The goal of this game was to move from one end of the field to the other without letting your candle get blown out by the opposing team. Moses was an expert at dodging others and blowing out candles!
Moses is looking forward to “the new adventure… towards [his] goal of transforming and reaching out to the community”. With all of the activities planned Moses really liked how easy it was to begin to connect with everyone.
Both Grace and Moses are great additions to Calvary’s student body. We are really looking forward to how God will use them in their classrooms and in the lives of those they come in contact with this upcoming year.
Every year a new group of students rise up to walk across the stage and receive their well-earned diploma from Calvary University.
This year we were blessed to watch as many of our international students stood up to receive their diplomas. A handful of these international students are Chinese individuals that have served the Lord so faithfully while here at Calvary, and are now moving on to continue in their service to Him.
Pastor Billy Ko, a well-known minister to the Chinese people here in the Midwest states and across the country, has played a great role in getting a few of these international students to Calvary University.
Pastor Ko founded the Christian Witness Center (CWC) in Missouri. The goal of this organization is to build disciples and co-leaders for Bible study groups and churches. They focus their ministry on the needs of the Chinese individuals in the Midwest of the States. As a whole this organization reaches over forty college campuses within ten states, focusing on creating disciples and growing students in their faith.
One of our graduates, Qinglong Liang, has graduated from Calvary with his Masters of Divinity. He received high honors and awards in both his Hebrew and ministry studies. Qinglong is moving to work alongside the Christian Witness Center. While at the CWC, Qinglong will serve as a missionary in the churches and Bible study groups that are a part of the CWC.
He has enjoyed his time at Calvary and states that the biggest lesson he learned while studying here is, “I really know that God… is truly faithful to provide everything beyond my imagination.”
Another one of our students, Xiaofei He, has graduated with a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies, along with many outstanding awards in his Greek and ministry studies
Xiaofei is now moving to Texas, where his wife will be studying Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. While there he plans to serve in a Chinese church in Arlington, Texas. He and his wife are both seeking the Lord’s guidance as to where to go once the program in Texas is completed next May.
Xiaofei has learned while at Calvary that, “the knowledge of God is the most important knowledge.” He came to know that “God is good and faithful.” Not only this, but that his “aim of spiritual growth is to know more and more about God and to cultivate a more intimate relationship with Him!”
Yang Zhang has also graduated from Calvary. He has graduated with his Masters in Bible and Theology and will be moving to North Carolina in the fall. Yang will be interning at the Christian leadership Renewal Center in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Here he will be working as a cook while continuing his studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
While at Calvary, Yang says that he has “learned how to interpret God’s word correctly,” and is excited to continue studying God’s word as he goes on to study for a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies.
We are so pleased to have watched these students graduate and to hear how they are going to continue in their service to God with their next steps. Please be in prayer for them as they walk according to the will of our Lord, wherever it should take them.
As the summer begins to unfold the food trucks and people come out! This Friday, May 3rd was the start to many First Fridays.
First Fridays take place on the first Friday of every month throughout the summer. Located in Kansas City, these events hold a plethora of entertainment. There are delicious food trucks, talented street musicians/performers, beautiful art displays, and so much more.
We had the great opportunity to make our way downtown last weekend to experience this for ourselves.
Taking a handful of people we explored all that there was to offer for the evening.
Ai: “I really liked just walking around and seeing different kinds of arts, food, and people! I also enjoyed spending time with everyone.”
The first thing that we encountered was a talented swordfighter. It was $2 to duel and if you won you got your money back! Tak was the only brave soul from the group to try his hand at victory. He put up a great fight, but unfortunately had to concede defeat.
Several different art booths were on display and we had such a great time exploring through all of them. The amount of time the artists put into their work was clearly seen as we sorted through their paintings or drawings.
One booth had artwork that when put under a black light glowed even brighter! There were also glasses for people to put on that caused the artwork to become 3D in appearance.
The grumbling in our bellies called for a few stops at different food trucks. Gyros and delicious fruit made their way into our hands and empty stomachs.
Tak: “I loved everything! The sword fight was fun, the art gallery was good, singing the worship song was great too. Hanging out with everyone was a blast!”
Throughout the night we were blessed by the guitar that Martin brought along. We had so much fun fiddling around with it and even got a chance to sing on the street corner. A lady in the area asked for a song to be played and Martin began strumming the worship song “Reckless Love” as the crowds passed by.
Taking the evening to explore the wonders of First Fridays was well worth it. What a great night spent in downtown Kansas City.
Interacting with those of a different culture can create some of the most blessed friendships.
Entering the college world will bring many new opportunities to try and moments to experience. Here at Calvary University we have an amazing group of international students that help us to create such special moments.
Noah Wittenbach, a Junior here at Calvary, has found that engaging with international students on campus can bring life and encouragement.
Noah grew up in Lowell, Michigan and had pretty much no interaction with international students while living there. When he moved to Calvary he met and connected with people outside of his own cultural norm for the first time. One of the individuals that he has grown close to is Masaki Ouchi, a student from Japan.
When asked about his most awkward or funny interaction, Noah explained his first few moments of meeting Masaki.
“When I first met Masaki we were in class and I was in a goofy mood. Masaki was sitting behind me, so I turned around and said “Ni hao”. Masaki started laughing and I didn’t know why. I was in a goofy mood, but I was really trying to be genuine. Masaki laughed at me and said that what I just said to him was Chinese, not Japanese. I thought I was going to like speak his language, but I was so wrong!”
The story above is both humorous and sincere. With that being said, I would say that many times our interactions with people from outside cultures are exactly that—humorously sincere. We are going to make a mistake when we interact with other individuals, but do not let the mistakes that you end up making in attempt to be kind, take you away from pursuing those friendships.
Noah has learned many different things throughout his interactions with Masaki, one of them being that he thoroughly enjoys the differences that they have.
Because of this, his favorite thing to do is compare the cultures. Noah says that, “it’s wild to think of how different we were raised! And even though our cultures are so different we are able to be united in Christ.”
That right there is one of the best things about interacting with our international students here on Calvary’s campus. We have a common goal in life, which is to glorify God in all that we do. The differences exist, but the same Spirit lives inside us all. Just as Noah has come to realize, “it’s not like one culture is right or wrong, it’s just different. They emphasize different things, and it’s cool.”
Our God is a creative God and we see his creativity in the ways that people live. Whether it is your literal neighbors next door, or your neighbors who come from across the pond, one can always find ways to celebrate who our God is by how He has created each of us to be.
The Lord has used interactions with many cultures to do a work in Noah’s heart.
When asked if God has changed his heart at all through his friendships with international students Noah says with confidence, “definitely!”
“I think it’s just I didn’t have any interaction with international students before college. God has opened my eyes to how unique it is. So many cool things that I’ve learned of my culture and others. I had no idea before, but God has opened my eyes to how cool it is to be able to interact with international students.”
Do not be shy in interacting with students that are from a variety of cultures. Noah gave some advice to everyone on making international friends, and it was this:
“Make friends with internationals! …It’s important to be patient with your interactions, knowing it’s probably not going to go like you think it is, and accepting that fact. I think that patience and acceptance are the two key things.”
Try something new today. Find a student from another culture and strike up a conversation. It may turn into a humorous interaction, but make it sincere. Be patient and accept the fact that ideas are going to differ. You will find yourself to be more blessed than you ever thought possible as you interact and learn with our intercultural brothers and sisters in Christ.
An evening of laughter and Japanese food for our International Club dinner!
This last Saturday was our International Club dinner. Getting together to fellowship is always a joy, but this last Saturday was extra special.
The evening’s focus was on Japan as we gathered together to create a delicious Japanese curry. Tears were shed as the onions were cut, muscles were made as the carrots and potatoes were chopped, hands became gooey as we diced the chicken, and mouths were watering while all of this was thrown into the pot!
We were so thankful for Ai and Karin, who played such an important role in making this wonderful authentic dish.
Not only were we privileged to have Japanese curry, but we also enjoyed sushi, both Korean (kimbap) and Japanese style! We watched in awe as Karin rolled the kimbap like a professional.
The event, making Saturday’s evening extra special, was that we were all blessed to hear a testimony from Takuya Takagi, an international student from Japan. He has been studying here at Calvary for the last two years and this summer he will be heading back to serve at his church in Japan, while finishing up his schooling online. It truly was great for us to sit down and hear his testimony and how the Lord has worked in his heart to love and serve people for the glory of God.
We sure are going to miss this brother in Christ, but are excited to see how God will use him to bless his church family back in Japan!
After our time of worship and listening to Takuya’s testimony we all enjoyed playing a variety of games. The Hange household was bursting with excitement as everyone competed for their own victories.
Another successful International Club wrapped up as we sat down with bellies full and happy hearts. God is kind to give us such excellent company and food as we learn from one another.
A big thanks is due to Mr. and Mrs. Hange for opening up their house to all of us Saturday evening! What a joyous time it truly was!