IOWA CITY, Iowa—Imagine moving to a different country and all you have is what you packed in your suitcase. Incoming students from around the world have little with which to set up a household, so Faith Baptist Church provides household goods and lets the students know they have friends in Iowa City.
On Aug. 17, Faith Baptist Church, working with Campus Bible Fellowship International, arranged for buses to drive the students from the University of Iowa to the church for its 11th International Giveaway. For months people had been collecting furniture, kitchen items, linens, and other household goods to give to new international students.
Arriving at the church, 200 students representing 32 countries registered, writing down their addresses and checking off the church’s activities that they might be interested in. Then they gathered in the sanctuary to receive instructions—and the gospel. Back outside, the students picked out the household items they wanted, which were then loaded onto trucks for delivery. While waiting for the bus ride home, they enjoyed refreshments, met folks from the church, and received bags of literature concerning CBFI activities and studies.
About 100 people, including 28 from Walnut Park Baptist Church, Muscatine, Iowa, worked together to make the day a success.
Campus Bible Fellowship International is the student ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions. Local chapters meet at colleges and universities across the country, including at the University of Iowa. The goal of CBFI, the organization says, “is to see Christian students become faithful, serving members of a good local church so that they will migrate to strong, Bible-believing churches wherever they locate in the future.”
Elva Craig, a missionary with CBFI, says the International Giveaway “is one of the main ways we have in making contacts with these new students. Many times our church people are asked why we do this, and the answer is given, ‘To show God’s love.'”
Faith Baptist Church counts it a privilege to welcome these students, not just with their words, but also with their actions.
Elva says, “Over the years God has used this ministry to connect us with students who have eventually come to church, been in Bible studies, and received Christ. It has also helped our church family to become more involved with the internationals God is bringing to our door. Once they meet the students like this, they find out it is easier to talk to them than they had first thought. We thank God for these open doors and open hearts.”