Mike and I, along with our daughter Bailey, first attended New Hope in May 2014. That Sunday was the send-off for the previous lead pastor. While we felt out of place and wished we had picked a different Sunday to visit, we left that day in awe at how God-honoring the service was. It was filled with such humility, grace and love, that we left feeling intrigued and curious. So we came back the following Sunday, and the one after that…and the one after that. Each week we were pursued (read: literally chased down!), greeted, and engaged in meaningful conversation. In addition to forming friendships, we were also intrigued by the attitude of New Hope in their commitment to “steward the transition well” as they started the process to search for a pastor. The commitment to live out the gospel, to pursue relationships with both believers and unbelievers, and to continue growing in faith was what drew us to remain at New Hope and why we have come to love the heart of New Hope. New Hope’s time of transition was, for us, a sweet time of connecting and belonging. Finding and connecting with community has truly been a blessing.
This theme of being a good steward has challenged us on a personal level to think about how we can best steward our time and relationships during different seasons of life. During our current season, Mike is a professor in the vet school at K-State and I am the Assistant Director at Life Choice Ministries. We have two daughters. Our oldest, Bethany, lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she works for a missions organization. Bailey is a student at K-State and active in Christian Challenge. Through the last several years, God has placed international students and faculty in our lives through various avenues. From Mike’s grad students to international couples seeking assistance through Life Choice, to international friends of our daughters, we have grown to love those whom God has brought from other countries and cultures. We have learned so much and have been humbled at the simple ways God has provided for us to interact with them. Because of this, our family has become more involved with HIS (Helping International Students) as a way to love, provide support and increase awareness of the needs of internationals.
Because most of Manhattan’s international population is here for a limited time, we are reminded to use that time well – in other words be a good steward of the opportunities and time that we spend with them by living out the gospel and pursuing opportunities to share about Jesus. Opportunities to share the gospel with the nations abound in Manhattan as many nations are right here in our town. What a sweet gift from God that He has brought them to us! Although we may not all be called to move overseas to spread His love and message, we all can do that here.
Since becoming a part of the New Hope family and feeling valued, pursued and loved, we really want our international friends to have that same sense as they experience friendship and then hear the redemptive story of Jesus. We would love to share and encourage you if you are feeling that God is nudging you to get more involved with internationals. Just grab us on a Sunday or find us in the New Hope Directory. We are not pros and definitely not experts, but we are learning and we serve a mighty God who directs us!