Never underestimate the power of genuine relationships. I remember reading a Facebook post from an Egyptian girl who attended our Fall Party a few years ago. This was one of the most impactful events of her time here in the United States. It really shifted her mindset on the decision to continue studying abroad in the United States.  As a Muslim she even attended one of our church service on campus.

   Last month we hosted yet another Fall Party off campus. Our activities for international students can vary from year to year, but we have made this event an annual happening. We invited many students from around the world to Pastor Winston’s house for a night filled with food, fellowship, and pumpkin carving.  One of my roles has always been to contact local businesses to get carvable pumpkins donated. We were blessed to have 47 pumpkins donated this year!

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   Our goal was to give these students time and invite them to experience the American culture. Most internationals are overlooked during their studies abroad and many have never been invited to carve a pumpkin before. I know for those who attended, this will be a memory that will follow them back to their home country. This experience had such a lasting impact on my Egyptian friend that she even commented on a picture I posted online last month about how she attended in 2011. This reiterated how something as simple as carving a pumpkin could impact and follow someone for years to come.

   A powerful point that Pastor Winston has taught me is that the Kingdom of God is based upon relationships… Your relationship with God and your relationships with people. Not only must we give God time, but we must give people time. Never underestimate the impact we can have on someone by just giving them time. We don’t have to be at a church service to have a time of ministry. God will open avenues in activities that seem secular, but are in fact future platform for His presence and ministry. Smile and go out of your way to show someone that you genuinely care about them today. If you reach out to someone you are not that close to, you will be amazed at how something so small could impact them for years.