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I love the outdoors and experiencing God’s raw creation. In Missouri, when we have bonfires, naturally we take to the woods. However, Los Angeles does not have acre upon acre of forest on every corner which makes bonfires a little different here. Because we do not have forests, L.A. residents have to settle for bonfires at the beach instead…!

 


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One of my favorite things to do is connect with internationals. Last weekend, the traditional and international students affiliated with our ministry came together for our annual beach bonfire. It was an avenue to help internationals learn our culture and make American friends in a welcoming environment.  Additionally, this allowed traditional students who do not help with the International Student Friendship connect with internationals who have yet to come to one of our weekly services on campus.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I had the opportunity to interact with international students and this was only because they where my roommates. Most traditional students do not have the chance to live with international students. Unless we offer them opportunities to socialize with internationals, traditional students will probably not go out of their way to pursue an international friendship. It was great to bring tons of students together for fellowship and a fun time of hotdog roasting and s’more making in a Godly environment.

 


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During the bonfire, one international student told me that he had already learned so much from talking with and hanging around me. He said that his culture taught that you are to live to make money, and that your whole life is to be dedicated to furthering your career to further your family’s financial interests.

I shared with him over lunch one afternoon that life was more than money. I told him that he needed to think about others besides himself and learn to enjoy his life. I shared the gospel message with him and told him that God had a plan for his life. This was the first time he had truly heard the gospel message. Though he had heard that Christians believed in a God named Jesus, he knew nothing of Jesus’s teachings, His sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. My international friend has not yet given his heart to the LORD, but God is working on his heart and I can tell that he is slowing going through a transformation.

Never underestimate the power and impact that an event as simple as a bonfire or lunch can have. One Spirit led conversation can change the live of a person forever. That is why it is so important that we not only we interact with unbelievers, but are open to God’s guiding in doing so.

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