IOWA CITY, Iowa—Faith Baptist Church held a giveaway of household goods for international students attending the University of Iowa. The church has held this event for the past 15 years to supply new international students with necessary furniture and housewares for their apartments. “Through this we hope to develop relationships with the students for the purpose of sharing Christ,” says Assistant Pastor Jake Mangold.
Each year members of Faith Baptist Church and a faithful crew from Walnut Park Baptist Church, Muscatine, Iowa, volunteer at the giveaway from about 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Students arrive by bus at 1:00 p.m. “At this point we give them directions concerning the event and share the gospel with them. They are then allowed to pick out furniture items and household supplies,” Mangold says. “Students are guaranteed at least two large pieces of furniture, and many are able to totally equip their apartments with what they need. We then take the students home and spend the rest of the day delivering the furniture to their apartments.”
This year, 143 students—mainly graduate students and visiting scholars—from 25 countries participated. Of those students, approximately 100 indicated a desire to attend Faith Baptist or one or more ministries that the church offers, including English language help, various social activities, and Bible studies.