Gainesville Day 5

Today we loaded up the vans and headed to St. Augustine. We met a bunch of international students there, many who we previously had  connected with earlier in the week. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out and the skies were blue. We sat at a park and started off our day with a picnic. I got to sit down with 3 international students, one who had a son named Patrick. Patrick was a goof ball: making silly faces, running around and making us all laugh. It was such a sweet moment to see that even in the midst of a slight language barrier, kids are still kids, they love to laugh and play. Furthermore, it was sweet to talk to Patrick’s mom and hear from her about the good and the hard of parenting. We shared stories over lunch and then headed to the beach.

The beach was beautiful, a step up from what we are used to in Texas! We played spike ball, passed the frisbee, threw the football, and some brave souls jumped into the ocean. I had the chance to spend time with Soomni and Eeshan. Soomni is from South Korea, getting her degree in Safety Engineering. Eeshan is from Western India, getting his masters in Civil Engineering. It was such a gift to hear stories from both of them about their families and their time in The United States. Both of them were so willing to answer questions, as well as ask me about my life and my family. Soomni and I got to go for a walk later in the day and continue our conversation. She is getting ready to head home and was feeling sad to have to say goodbyes. After asking her what she liked about The United States her response was, “It was so easy to make friends here.” This made me so thankful for the way God has put people in Soomni’s life to encourage her and walk through this season of her life with her. If you would, pray for Soomni as she heads back home. Pray for safe travels, for her to share her experiences with her family and friends, and for God to continue to soften Soomni’s heart to the gospel. I am so grateful for the chance to have met Soomni and know just a small part of her life.

This trip has really opened my eyes to see that even though many of the people I have met have been from across the globe, there is much more that we have in common than I had realized. Praise God for the chance to be here this week, to get to know students across this campus and for the way God has opened my eyes to international students.

Group Picnic 

–Kylee Rudder

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