On a dreary Christmas Day in Paris in 1991, I dialled the landline of my family home back in Sydney. The phone rang and rang, then rang out. No answer.
I felt homesick – alone, though I was on tour with my school’s chapel choir. I’d forgotten my family had travelled to Melbourne. Away at Christmas for the first time, I just wanted to hear their voices.
For many Chinese international students, the Mid-Autumn (Mooncake) Festival stirs similar longings for home. Traditionally an occasion for family reunion dinners, the festival (Thursday 1 Oct in 2020) highlights the separation from family and home which students in Sydney experience, exaggerated by COVID-19 travel restrictions. Many students will not be able to travel home over summer as they would not be able to return to Sydney to complete their studies.
To show love to students, euFOCUS is planning several in-person gatherings in students’ homes around Sydney, where international students will be invited to spend the evening sharing a meal and watching a special ‘Come Home Dinner’ together online. In past years we’ve gathered as a larger group, but current restrictions have led to this different plan – gathering in smaller groups in homes.
“This hospitality aims to extend the loving embrace of a family away from their family in a home away from home, with God’s family.”
I’ll be speaking from Exodus 19 and 1 Peter 2 of how Israel was saved by God’s grace to belong to God as His beloved people, and how we too, in Jesus, can be saved by God’s grace to belong to God as His beloved people – children in God’s family.
Please pray that students would be bold and loving in inviting their friends to these Mid-Autumn Festival gatherings. Pray that students would experience God’s love in our love for them. Pray that as they hear of God’s love in Jesus, students might accept God’s mercy and grace and join us in belonging to Him as His people, finding an eternal home in His kingdom.
Senior Staff – EUFocus
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