During fall exam week of the 2019 school year, we met a student we’ve been able to journey with over the course of the year.
My Red Frogs Support Network team and I were on campus with hot chocolate and candy canes at midnight as a pick-me-up for students studying late for their finals in December. As we were wrapping up for the night, he came by our table, asking about what we were handing out. He had never had hot chocolate before. After his first cup from our first encounter that night, he came by every night for the rest of the week.
We had gotten to know him a little bit over that time, and by our last night of finals week, he asked if he could help in any way, since with his exams being over he had nothing to do until the winter semester began in January. I told him our events were over but invited him to an international students Christmas dinner, an event hosted at one of my sponsor churches, Parkwood Gospel Church, and organized by a couple, Samara and Abel Matthews, on my Red Frogs team. Between the Canadian Christmas meal, the games, carols and gift exchanges, I was sharing the gospel at the event with a message about what’s really celebrated at Christmas time. Not only did he come to the event, but he brought a friend and couldn’t stop thanking me for inviting him to the event. Soon after he asked me if he could join the Red Frogs team. I was getting the vibe that he had a Hindu faith background, but sent him the details for the next training event, to which he also brought some friends along.
I shared about Red Frogs' beginnings, its heart, purpose, and the requirements of team members. When I got to the part about being open to a mentoring relationship with me and conversations about faith, instead of shying away like I anticipated, they were all eager to sign up! He showed up to serve (usually taking cabs or buses) and just as we were planning out a schedule for our mentoring sessions, COVID-19 shut everything down. This led to phone calls. I was checking in with him and six other students weekly, bi-weekly and then monthly as the quarantine went on. Each time, before we ended our call, I’d ask him if I could pray for him, and he was always happy to provide some prayer points and have me pray for him. While he may not be a Jesus follower yet, on our most recent call he couldn’t stop thanking me for taking the time to pray for him and care for him. He said, “No one has ever done that for me. It’s hard to be all alone here in Canada and not be close to anyone you know, so it really means a lot that you would do this for me.” He’s someone I’ve been able to journey with during his post secondary career, belonging to our community before he believes, encountering faith, hope and love, and all because of a cup of hot chocolate at midnight.
Photos courtesy Nelly Latchman.
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