First Friends - International College Students
For over 30 years FIRST FRIENDS has been a Christ-centered outreach ministry of World Missions. Our goal at 1st Pres is to be the hands and feet of Christ as we help international college students adapt to our culture and to have a pleasant (and, by God’s grace, life-changing) experience here. It’s our Mission Field ACROSS THE STREET. God sends the students, and our caring blend of ministry volunteers serves Him -through them. Our students come from every NATION, TRIBE, and TONGUE - and all SOCIO-ECONOMIC circumstances. The “harvest” is wide as the vast majority are not believers.
We give them acceptance, unconditional friendship, and the security of knowing they have someone they can turn to in need or ask questions. It’s our opportunity to live out the gospel in a non-threatening way.
We are always “Friends FIRST” - engaging, befriending, helping, and inviting. We have parties, hikes, church activities, tours, baby showers, cultural and sports events, time in our homes—all the things that make for good friendships. We also help with many serious situations & problems.
We offer English Conversation classes, Writing help, and an as-needed English Bible Study for seeking students. We have what we call a “Free Bazaar” room in our tower building where they can take gently used dorm or apartment items donated by church members. They can’t bring everything they need in one suitcase, and most don’t have cars.
All our events and activities are “ON-RAMPS” to Ministry, and the Holy Spirit has gathered some of our students to Christ while they were here. Some let us know - even years later - they and their families have become Followers of Jesus after seeds were planted and watered here and elsewhere.
Unlike life-long missionary connections, the turn-over rate gives us an urgency to share the Gospel. While some students do become life-long friends, the usual duration of their education here can range from one-semester (exchange and ESL) to 6 years for undergrad to master’s level.
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