“This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,” Acts 10:36 (NLT).
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:7 (NLT).
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord,” 2 Peter 1:2 (NLT).
Every spring, International Students, Inc. hosts TRUE Leadership Conferences across the US for international students interested in enhancing leadership and professional development skills. Year after year, we hear reports of how attendees are receiving so much more! We are greatly blessed that these students not only gain invaluable information to further their careers and future professional goals--they also experience the love and Word of God.
These week long conferences are held in some of the most beautiful areas of the US. This May 2016, they will be held in North Carolina, South Dakota, and California.
As we near the dates of these conferences and the exciting opportunities they bring to international students, I want to share with you a testimony from one of our previous conferences. The story involves one of our ministry friends and an international student named Penny.
When our ministry friend first met Penny, a visiting student from East Asia, our friend sensed an openness and eagerness in her heart. Penny attended Bible study faithfully each week and even began hosting the study in her own home. On the outside, Penny appeared full of joy and warmth, her smile lit up the room. But on the inside, she was wounded and ashamed. She is a single mother, her marriage having lasted little over two years. In East Asia, to be a divorced, single mother is to live a life of failure, shame, and self-degradation.
As Penny learned about Jesus Christ at Bible study, our friend could see her heart opening up to truth and yearning for His grace in her life. Penny was afraid, though, to commit her life to following Christ in a country where to do so would most certainly incur more shame and risk for her and her daughter. Our friend then invited Penny to join her at one of our TRUE Leadership Conferences. With a scholarship donated by a local church, Penny was able to attend the event. Our friend writes about the experience:
“God had Penny at the TRUE Leadership Conference for much more than team building and encouragement. He had heart-work to do in Penny that needed focus and tending. On the second day of the retreat, the speaker talked about building honest, healthy relationships; the importance of giving and receiving forgiveness was discussed at length. In the afternoon, each student was given an invitation to write a forgiveness letter to someone for whom they harbored bitterness or grudge. I sat silently on the edge of the room praying as Penny poured out her heart on paper. Long minutes passed and tears flowed as she finally put words to the hurt her heart suffered due to her ex-husband, failed marriage and single parenthood. In those moments, she was able to not only identify the pain that bound her soul, but to forgive her ex-husband and herself for how they failed their marriage and each other. Penny later told me that writing that letter was a life-changing moment for her. Before that moment she used to weep frequently over her loss and dismal future. After writing the letter she found freedom from her past, hope for the future, and an end to her tears.”
In the weeks and months following TRUE Leadership, Penny participated in two Bible studies, including an M:28 Discovery Bible study! Penny and our ISI friend met often. They discussed Penny’s life, her future, and God’s desire to have her whole heart. Penny often referred back to the forgiveness letter at TRUE Leadership and how her life took a new direction from that moment.
On Penny’s trip home to East Asia, our ministry friend writes:
“Penny led her mother to Christ! Praise be to God for this full cycle of evangelism and grace!”
I look forward to sharing more stories like this in the upcoming weeks! Let us all pray that the students who attend our conferences grow in the knowledge of the Lord and that they experience His amazing grace and peace!
For More Information
Learn more about the TRUE Leadership Conference in California.
Learn more about the TRUE Leadership Conference in North Carolina.
Learn more about the TRUE Leadership Conference in South Dakota.