Charis Bible College in Colorado recently held a luncheon in honor of the school's international students. Andrew and Jamie were on hand to celebrate with the students and to enjoy the colorful and flavorful festivities. The event was called the H.I.S. Table Luncheon (Hello International Students) and it was the fourth of its kind to be held.
In 2009, CBC was awarded Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification from the United States Department of Homeland Security. This certification granted CBC the ability to enroll non-immigrant students on M-1 visas. During the first year of the program, CBC was home to 14 international students. In this, its third year, CBC hosted 27 SEVP students and the enrollment numbers continue to climb with 42 students expected to start classes in the fall of 2012.
SEVP students who make the decision to study at CBC in Colorado not only commit to making cultural adjustments by leaving their homelands, but they are required to provide proof that they have the finances to support themselves and their families while in America, because their visas do not permit them to be gainfully employed while in the States. It is because of these requirements and the sacrifices many students make to come to the U.S. to study the Word that CBC holds a special luncheon to honor them.
In addition to the 27 SEVP international students, CBC is also home to 14 other students from outside the country who have chosen to obtain legal immigrant status. All 41 students were honored at the luncheon and together they represented 24 nations (Switzerland, Ireland, Haiti, Russia, Canada, Scotland, Poland, England, Ukraine, Guernsey, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Korea, Italy, Bahamas, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia).
According to Wendy Okamura, the event's organizer and MC, the theme for the luncheon centered around the Hawaiian word Aloha because of its multifold meaning. "The word Aloha means hello, goodbye, affection, love, peace and the breath of life," said Wendy. It was a fitting title for the celebration of international students coming to attend CBC and those leaving after graduation to go back to their homelands to share the Gospel. The celebration included worshipful hula dancing and musical worship provided by CBC graduates, staff and students from Hawaii.
During an opening performance of hula ministry, CBC graduate Niau Mora, a native of Hawaii, shared more about the definition of the word Aloha. "The word 'Alo' means, 'God's centered thinking'. He thought about man before He put us on this earth. He prepared everything for us so that we would lack absolutely nothing. Then, 'ha,' He blew the breath of life into us. We are God's center focus," said Niau.
Andrew also shared a special message at the luncheon, during which he likened the international students to, containers full of God's Word. "We have been depositing [the seed of] God's Word in you and we're expecting it to grow and change entire nations. I don't know what your thoughts were when you came here, but you are going to go out and change nations," Andrew proclaimed.
Andrew went on to say, "The Lord fashioned our hearts alike, and it doesn't matter what the color of your skin is, what language you speak, what your customs are, on the inside we're all exactly the same and the Word of God is written straight for a person's heart. And, we're teaching the Word. These truths that are working in my life, will work anywhere in the world. If you will preach this in your culture, you can see every single person impacted by this. We don't need another American to go in and try to make Americans out of everybody. We need you to take these truths, put it in your culture, use your background, share the things that will reach your people, and we'll see it—just like fire—go all over the world."
From the colorful decorations to the flavorful food and conversation, there was an excitement in the room and around H.I.S Table because the potential to change the world is limitless through Christ in us.