College is always a busy time for young adults. For students like Pravena and Amira, who joined Resonate Global Mission partner International Campus Ministry, college has also been a time to explore new service opportunities and grow as leaders.
Motivated to Serve
When Pravena came to Western Michigan University (WMU) in the fall of 2018, she had a desire to serve. “I have always wanted to do some sort of voluntary work and to just give back to people but never had the right platform to do so,” she said.
But then she attended a lunch for international students that International Campus Ministry (ICM) hosts every Thursday throughout the school year. In partnership with local churches, ICM feeds more than 200 students each week. It was at one of these lunches that Pravena saw an opportunity to serve.
“The first week I came for International Lunch I saw that there were a couple of volunteers helping out and I decided to ask them if I could help out. They were nice enough to take me in,” said Pravena.
She jumped right in and started volunteering the very next week.
Stepping Up to Lead
Amira is another student who welcomed the chance to engage with students from various cultures when she started school at WMU. She got plugged into ICM’s community and became a student leader, helping out at lunches and other events.
“I thought it was a great chance to meet so many students from different backgrounds and cultures on campus and get to know more about what the ICM has to offer international students in particular,” said Amira.
College can be a difficult transition experience for any student, but for international students in particular, finding a sense of familiarity and community can be even more of a challenge. Pravena and Amira both made a point to greet and get to know some students, and it became clear that their hospitality was appreciated. Amira looked forward to seeing how the lunches became a “warm gathering” each week, even noticing a few students running to the lunches after class.
“It made me so happy when students say that they wouldn't want to miss one of those lunches ever,” said Amira. “Students felt like home there because they usually were able to find different dishes from their home countries like Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean dishes.”
Growing in Leadership
The lunches were also a meaningful opportunity for Pravena and Amira to grow in leadership. Through campus ministries like ICM, Resonate equips young adults to be leaders in their churches and communities—and to be the hands and feet of Jesus in everything they do.
“Our mission is to develop international influencers for Christ,” said Jordan Palladino, a campus minister of ICM. He admires the students leaders for stepping up and becoming actively involved in the weekly lunches.
“They have all really embraced our vision of making the lunches a place of hospitality and community,” said Jordan. “It is wonderful to see them take some ownership of the lunches and provide ideas on how we can make it better.”
Thank you for supporting CRC campus ministries through Resonate! You’re not only providing a space for students to feel welcomed and loved, but you’re providing them with opportunities to serve and grow as leaders.
“ICM has been a great chance for me to experience the real meaning of volunteering by serving meals to students and by helping them out by making them feel welcome,” said Amira.
“This whole service has taught me what it feels like to give back to people,” added Pravena. “It really puts a smile on lots of faces out there.”
This story was originally published on crcna.org.