Ministry at IUPUI

Karen and I have been working with international students at IUPUI this year. That’s short for Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. About 10% of the more than 37,000 (37,461 last I checked) students at IUPUI are internationals studying here in the United States, and many of those are Chinese students. The group we work with is another arm of our Campus ministry called Bridges International. Most international students would not feel comfortable coming to regular Campus Crusade meetings. The meetings are filled with American students worshipping and learning more about our God, which is something they would not be comfortable with. We create a place for them to feel welcome, in a new environment and culture.

There are three parts to ministry we do at Bridges. First, we try to initiate spiritual conversations with students. This is actually true of any Crusade movement on campus, but, we have been using tools that are specifically designed for Chinese students, and have an asian cultural bent to them. The second part of our ministry is a Bible Study we have from 12:30-1:30. Most of the students who come to the Bible study are either already Christians, or they are curious about understanding Christianity. A lot of the students who are not believers who do come, realizes Christianity is the predominant religion here in the United States, and they want to know more about our culture, and beliefs. They are finding out more about Jesus. Our third part to our ministry is Conversation Club. Conversation Club is right after Bible study. We give students an opportunity to make friends, and practice their English speaking skills. Many of the students who come to Conversation Club are not Christians. Most of them want to practice English and make new friends. During conversation club we do a lot of different activities with students, and talk about a lot of subjects. We have talked about the three branches of government. We have also talked about world leaders throughout history who have impacted our lives. That meeting was one of the times we were able to share a little more about our faith, like we try to do every other week, since Jesus Christ is a world leader who has impacted us the most. We also have some of our special events during conversation club. For instance, At Thanksgiving, we had a special Thanksgiving dinner for the international students. About 60 showed up for this meal. Most of these students have never experienced turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, cream corn casserole, and pumpkin pie. They got to experience all the goodies! They also got to learn a little bit about the history of Thanksgiving, and hear some about Jesus. We went around the tables and shared things we were thankful for. It was exciting to see students from so many different countries come! We had students from China, Iran, France, Germany, Vietnam, Korea, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and many more places. It was awesome talking to them about their countries, and their lives back home.