December 23, 2013

Christmas with International Friends

One of the best parts of this past semester has been spending time getting to know several International Students at UTD.  David has headed up our young adults' group outreach to the International Students for the last year and a half and we have done a variety of things in the past such as friendship partners, special events and discussion groups.  But this year we were trying to find a way to build the partnership even more.  We hold an on-campus discussion group once a week and were looking for ways to let other students know about it.  So we teamed up with a Home Group led by several couples at our church to let their students know about the group and the young adults group at Woodcreek.  Our plan was to go to the Home Group a couple times (maybe the whole month of September) just to build connections with other people in the same type of ministry.  

But the first night David and I went to the Home Group, we both walked away feeling like it was exactly where we were supposed to be this semester.  best decision ever.  We still held our weekly discussion group on campus with some friends (Americans and International students) and it was a good time.  But Friday nights when we went to the Home Group we ate dinner with and got to know the students before helping answer questions at their student-led bible study.  We feel like with that time we really got to know them and were there to answer a lot of questions which started a lot of good discussions.

So this Christmas it was really fun to introduce the students to some American Christmas favorites.  We spent the last few weeks of our Discussion Group talking about Advent, the first coming of Christ and trying to answer questions about the incarnation and how that celebration has become what it is today.

And then we did a lot of fun activities in December.  Our Home Group's Progressive Dinner was cancelled early this month due to Ice. So we invited the students to the Young Adult Holiday Hoedown.  A few of them came and I think they had a really good time!

This past week we took a group of students to look at Christmas lights.

It was nice outside so we walked through the neighborhood instead of driving the whole thing.  But it was nice to warm up in front of their outdoor fireplace!

Fun group!

One of the questions that came up while looking at lights is "what is the Grinch?" so I explained it as best I could and then created a movie night to watch the movie and have dinner.
Our friends Lucas and Yali joined us, along with other good friends from our group
I made dinner--Roast Beast (Ham), Who Hash (Hashbrown Casserole), Who Pudding, and Grinch Punch

It was a lot of fun getting it all set up
And Lucas and Yali brought us some snacks from the Asian Market--shrimp crackers, salt and seaweed chips, and rice treats--to enjoy during the movie

This past weekend David also had the opportunity to go see our friend Teng.  Teng was our international friendship partner this semester and it has been so fun getting to know him and show him around Dallas.  He went to the fair with us, watched some college football games with us, joined us for home group and discussion group, and come over for dinner, Elf and Christmas lights.  So we wanted to get him something special for his first Christmas here (he said it was his first Christmas gift!) and bought him an English/Chinese Bible.  Teng is heading north to spend Christmas in New York City!  

Several of our friends are now traveling for the Christmas break, but it was fun getting to do a few things with them before they left--and I look forward to January when they will be back.  Now our weeks just don't feel right without Friday Night Home Group and Monday Nights at UTD!

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