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The Dawning of Summer

The Dawning of Summer

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.

Engaging Cultures

Engaging Cultures

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.

International Club Dinner

International Club Dinner

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!