Parsonage Repurposed for International Students

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When the pastor of New Westminster (British Columbia) Christian Reformed Church and his wife decided to purchase their own home, the church decided to repurpose its parsonage as a home for international students. The church’s MOSAIC ministry has been serving a growing number of foreign students from nearby universities for the past several years.

MOSAIC International Home will house up to seven female students, including two “house mothers.” Tenants will pay a reasonable monthly rent and will be encouraged to attend Sunday church services, participate in weekly Bible studies, join regular group meals, and do their fair share of household chores. The home will also serve as a base for student ministry events.

Yolande Noort, one of the organizers of the housing project, explained that the commitment was a big leap of faith for the church but a decision that was immediately blessed by God. “The home was almost entirely furnished with donations from church members—only a few hundred dollars of the allotted budget was used!”

“I’ve been dreaming and praying about a community that international students can call home and where they can grow in the Word of God since I found new life through Christ,” said housemother Yoori Chung, a student from Korea. “I know what it feels like to enter an empty home after school and to make meal for myself. I know what pressures [the students] have from home.”

Fellow house mother Yolanda Hummelman shared this dream. “I believe that God has been orchestrating a plan and a purpose for this home,” she said. “It will take work and patience to get the house running smoothly, especially if there are seven girls from different countries and cultures living together. But what an expression of God’s kingdom!”

About the Author

Tracey Yan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes British Columbia North-west and British Columbia South-east.

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This article points to an opportunity that has been and probably will be increasing in both the US and Canada.  More and more international students -- especially Chinese -- are coming here for education.

My wife and I have hosted international students in our home for a number of years now.  Last year, we had three students: one Chinese, one Japanese and one Vietnamese.  This year we have two Chinese students.  All students attend the local Christian High School although few of them come as Christians (thus more opportunity).  Public schools and the local community college are also looking for host families here, and I suspect in most other parts of US and Canada as well.  And one doesn't even need a vacant parsonage to take advantage of this opportunity. :-)

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