Guest post by
Rhonda Workman, member of the Re-envisioning International Ministry Team
Dear Church family, loved ones of Ann Arbor CRC,
Below you will find a letter of invitation that will be published to international communities on U of M’s campus. As you can see, what we are offering to the international community is rather ambitious. But, as Grandma always said, “Many hands make light work.”
This is a new age that we are in. We are being stretched in so may ways, and thus, we must be creative. The need of the international students is still there. They are still “aliens in a strange land.” How can we, with the current restrictions, still serve them with Jesus’ heart and hands?
As you read through the invitation below (website coming soon), you will note many different ways to connect. Some might well be a long-term commitment while for others it may be appropriate to assign term limits, such as the seminars and discussion groups which will have identified topics.
I wonder if there are those of you who would be willing to share your expertise through a discussion group or seminar, if you would be willing to read stories to young ones, if you have great family recipes that you would like to share, or would like to help young students adapt to American schools and curriculum, or perhaps you just want to make a new friend through conversation?
Be creative, think of all the ways in which you might be able to share your knowledge, your heart, yourself and gain new friends from different countries along the way – a chance to travel during these historic times without leaving the comfort and safety of your own home.
Katharina von Kennel is our volunteer coordinator. Please reach out to her if you have any questions and especially if you would like to donate some of your time: email Katharina
“Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” – John Evelyn
“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9
Dear Friends, who we haven’t met yet,
Settling into a new country distant from your own, and especially at this time in history, can be daunting; therefore, we at Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church would like to reach out to you in friendship to help ease whatever anxiety you may be facing.
Typically, at this time of year we would be sending you an invitation to participate in a one-on-one, face-to-face, cross-cultural relationship giving you an opportunity to experience American culture with an American. We Americans, then, would be learning more about you and your culture. Times being as they are with the Covid virus, this year we are offering you a different way to connect with us – through a website. Although this is not ideal, we would like to offer you a variety of ways to learn more about our country, our citizens and our culture but in the comfort and safety of your and our own homes.
On this website you will have the opportunity to request a Conversation Partner, someone with whom you can connect via a chat space such as Zoom or Facetime. A Conversation Partner is someone with whom you can practice your English, ask questions about our culture, ask for instructions or best places to get items you need. In short, a Conversation Partner is someone you can consider your friend and guide as you live in a “strange place.”
There will be additional opportunities on the website to learn about America, as well. You will find seminars, discussion groups (one topic being about our politics especially as we are in an election year), book clubs, a cooking club, story hour for your younger children (to keep them occupied and give you time for a cup of tea), help for your children with their homework as they transition to American schools, and perhaps if you are curious, you might sign up for a Bible study to learn more about what Christianity is about, but that will be your choice and will not be pushed. We are aware that many see the United States and Christianity as walking hand in hand. So, this will be yet another area for you to learn about, if you wish.
Hopefully, eventually it will become safe to come together and meet face-to-face and then we can all celebrate and be glad together.