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Monday, August 29, 2011

International Student Needs

At this time I have one international student who needs help practicing for her driving test (she has a Bejing driver's license and just needs to make sure she is good with American traffic differences--she has already passed the written portion of the exam), and I need American families who are willing to spend time with a few Chinese women to practice oral English and discuss American culture and their family and its values for about one hour once a week.  Please contact me if you have interest!


It has been a crazy week of ministry!  We have had several large interaction events like the class crawl, picnic in the quad, and Get Plugged In, but I personally have also been spending a lot of time developing relationships with other groups and individuals.

Our ministry was invited to help freshman at class crawl by leading them around the quad and showing them where their classes were.  We also handed out freezer pops.  It was a great opportunity to interact with freshman and let them get to know our faces.

At Picnic in the Quad we had a few sign up as interested in small groups and were able to serve water and freezer pops to quite a few individuals.

Summit Coffee House serves students
 I personally feel that Get Plugged In provided some of the best interactions, as a whole.  Though we didn't have many interact at our booth (we gave out coffee, water, freezer pops, and information about game nights and small groups), there was tremendous interaction with students and many parts of the body.  We had a good number of groups show up for Get Plugged In, and we had a really nice inviting spread in the Quad.  It was open enough that individuals could wander around without feeling pressured yet had enough coverage of walkways that they were able
Encounter engages a student
to interact with quite a few groups.  Many of them stopped by to eat food provided by Cup of Joe's early in the morning or to get free coffee and doughnuts at Pastor Dave's Summit Coffeehouse tent (along with free laundry detergent, deodorant and other needed supplies).  I saw a good number interact with Renew early in the day when the played some music, and more students seemed to interact later with Challenge when they began to play music.  Encounter had several good interactions over the smores that they prepared, and quite a few students came by North Oak's table when they began serving a free lunch.
Challenge students play hacky sack with others

Liberty had more interactions later in the day (they gave students a chance to beat the ministry leader on a video game for a free supper), and I saw a few students walking around with the free bags provided by Trinity Lutheran Church.  First Presbyterian had a few internationals engage in conversation, and the UMSC also had a few people stop by.

North Oak serves food and information

More than just the interactions, though, what I really enjoyed seeing was the body of believers coming together to serve students as one.  Students had a great chance to simply be served and cared for, and I heard many conversations start up along the lines of 'Why are you doing this? Really, well why do you care about us?'  It led to some great conversations about love and Jesus.  I also enjoyed watching groups leave their tables to go interact with other parts of the body that they didn't know well.  It was great to see local college ministers and lead pastors having good discussions about what they were doing.  I feel that God powerfully used the day, and I am very grateful for it.

Beyond the big events, it has been a busy week of interactions.  I recently had a chat with a student until about five in the morning about faith and life.  It was a very awesome time, and I am grateful for that interaction.

I've also started having more interactions with a few new people in different ministries that I have been getting to know.  There is one young man who is working in the fraternities to start up Bible studies and love his fraternity brothers, there is a group living in a house in the party scene as a ministry house to reach out to their neighbors, and there are several ministries that have been around awhile who are just now getting their names out there.  It has been fun engaging in all of these arenas and more over the last week.

Additionally, I have been interacting more with Chinese Students and Chinese Student Association (I just spoke there last night and we have invited them to lead one of our game nights and perform at [alt] if they so desire).

Crazy as it's been, I want you to know that I greatly appreciate your prayers and support.  Have a great week and rest assured that the Kingdom continues to forcefully advance in Hays :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Wow it's been a crazy interesting two weeks.  Each day has been absolutely chalked full of one-on-one discussions, meetings, and events.

Right now I am trying to help an international student who has no place to stay; he is looking for a rental house with others or some other living arrangement that isn't too expensive.  If you know anyone, please contact me.  Also, please keep him and that situation in your prayers.

Quite a few ministries and churches came to the meeting last Sunday to discuss needs and issues pertaining to international students living here.  We prayed and talked about many of the ideas at length.  It appears that we may start up a few initiatives that have great potential to help out in the next year or two.

It's been a little hectic for the small groups as we figure out who will be in which small group and when that will occur.  We now have one women's small group, one men's small group, and several mixed groups meeting in different locations.  Since everyone's schedule switches at semester and we may have quite a few new students join this year, having it all come together takes quite a bit of listening and following.  Please pray as these communities come together that they happen at the right place and time.  Thank you again for your prayers and support!

Today is Picnic in the Quad--we will interact with many students (likely at a pretty surface level since the event is so large), but we would love prayers that it go right and that God help us be sensitive to any connections that we should make.  Thursday we will be hosting our 'Get Plugged In' event in the quad which we have limited to churches and college ministries, so we would especially appreciate prayers that the right connections are facilitated at that event.  Thank you for your prayers and support over these crazy few weeks!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We are beginning to feel the semester approach.  New students are arriving, old friends are returning, and things are really beginning to get busy.  As so many new opportunities approach it gets overwhelming unless I just look towards today and God and what He has for me in it.  I am very, VERY excited to see how the Kingdom will be advancing in the upcoming weeks.  There are so many things going on that it makes my head spin to think about them, but we serve a great God who is doing even more things that we don't see.  I have no idea what all to expect, but I know it looks to be an interesting year.

Please pray that the body of believers help out international students--this year Fort Hays has almost 200 more than normal coming in and many will need help getting used to a strange culture, using a secondary language as a primary language, and studying at an entirely new university in a very different setting.  It is a great chance for believers to step up in love and support for them (The Bible does speak to looking out for the foreigner among us).

Also keep those already here in your prayers.  Small groups have been going well this summer, and we have some new faces around.  I'm excited to see how God may be growing things over the year.  There is so much more going on than I can begin to update you on, so for now I will just report about things we are planning for once they actually get here.  In the meantime, please pray that God help us to step where we need and that we don't overlook anything that is in His plans...  In the next few days I hope to meet with many churches and ministries about upcoming events, so please pray that the Spirit lead in that.

Thank you for your prayers--sincerely.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Unite Updates/Prayer

This Saturday's small group was a lot of fun.  We started out catching up (because many had been gone between Mexico and other things) and a young Semolino employee who I've gotten to know a bit from being at Semo all the time sat down with us and chatted.  Since the discussion was over things related to Ecclesiastes we read that book in our study and discussed the topics.  The Semo fellow had some really good thoughts and we all had a great discussion over things.  One of our younger members who recently attended a wedding then had a relative pass away right after also commented on the relevance of the book to his life right now.  It was really a good time.

After we shared and prayed for each other--there are a few difficult things going on in several peoples' lives in all of the small groups, so I'd ask that you pray that God help us to let go of our control over difficult situations and that He help us turn it over to Him in prayer and action.  We also ask that those whom we care about let go and trust in God in those situations.  Thanks again all of you for your prayers for us and for God's work here!--Brandon