– shared by Anne Wilson during the Missions Spotlight in Worship on Sunday, May 24

Good Morning . . . it is my pleasure to speak to you briefly about Piedmont International Fellowship. We are a non-profit organization that ministers to international students from all the colleges and universities across our city.

Part of our mission statement says that assistance is offered which helps students make adjustment to United States culture with events planned throughout the year. Piedmont International Fellowship helps promote peaceful international relations . . . students from all religious and ethnic backgrounds are welcome.

I serve PIF not as a hobby but as a passion for these wonderful students. We are “seed planters” trying to show them the love we have for our Savior in the way we act and care for them. Many of them come here with limited English skills and our time with them offers them an opportunity to use their English in conversation.

We try to be warm and welcoming to them and soon after being with us a short time, we build a bond of trust . . . a “seed” planted.

We respect the fact that they have many religions . . . Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism and they in turn respect us in our Christian beliefs . . . another “seed” planted.

We have a friend/family program which affords Americans the opportunity to interact with a foreign friend . . . several in our congregation serve in this capacity and serve well and for that we are grateful.

We have monthly in home fellowships where we can have as many as 60 students from 20-30 countries represented. This offers them a chance to come to an American home and also affords them the opportunity to be with other international students. If you offer free food, college students will come. We were hosted here at First Baptist in February by our college department and some of our students put on a pair of skates for the first time.

We take 2 weekend retreats a year . . . we go to Fort Caswell in the spring and to Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mt. in the fall. A couple of years ago while at Blowing Rock, several of us had gathered outside. It was well past sundown and all of a sudden one of our students came frantically running to me with his prayer mat under his arm. He apparently had missed his evening prayer time. He asked me, “Which way is Mecca? . . . Which way is Mecca?”   Well, I didn’t have my compass at the time so I just said that way and off he went to have his evening prayer. When we travel with them we always have an optional worship service on Sunday morning. We sing, read scripture, and we pray . . . it never ceases to amaze me the 99% of them choose to come knowing this will be a Christian service. At the close of each worship service we then ask them to get into small groups and a leader will offer a prayer for them and their needs. At one event I had 4 Chinese girls in my prayer group and before I prayed, I asked them each if they had a prayer request
. . . without hesitation they began to share . . . one girl had just lost her grandmother and she had not been able to be home for her service . . . one was having family problems back home and she was worried about that . . . one was just homesick and missed her family so much. As I began to pray for these needs the girls had, I felt someone pick up my right hand and then someone held my left hand and here they were devout Buddhist and yet they welcomed me praying to my God for their needs . . . what a blessing for me. At the end of the prayer time they all thanked me for my prayers . . . another “seed” planted I ask . . . Yes, I know so.

If you are interested in learning more about PIF, I will be glad to share more with you of how you can become involved. The blessing will be yours.

– Contact Anne Wilson at anneglen@mindspring.com