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First Thoughts Blog

Author: Valerie Gastinel


Do global missions right here in Baton Rouge. Global missions done on a local level is part of God's plan to reach the nations. It is quite remarkable when we think about the sheer number of internationals God has brought to our city; many from the least reached people groups of the world. We have Muslims, Hindus, Buddists and Chinese in Baton Rouge who have never had the opportunity to know the God that we follow and love. 
Consider the responsibility, privilege and joy of being the first ambassador of Christ to them or watering the seeds others have faithfully planted. The heartbeat of the International Fellowship Partners initiative is to share in word and deed the unconditional love and good news of Christ through genuine friendship building. 
God has brought them to us. An airplane ticket is not needed for this faith journey . . . just a willing heart to GO with God.  God calls us to GO and make disciples of the nations. Will you GO with IFP to internationals that God has brought to our city?
Consider giving a warm Kingdom welcome to Internationals playing fun games together at Games Galore Saturday, March 5, in the Gym from 2 to 5 pm. It is a great way to break the ice, share laughs and make friends. We will have toss games, indoor badminton, ping pong and outdoor badminton (weather permitting). Fun for the whole family!
RSVP to Valerie Gastinel (225.241.1386). Let her know if you plan to bring a game or snack (individually wrapped, please). Sharing food to display welcome is an integral part of most international cultures.
While food donations are appreciated, they are not required to attend.
IFP appreciates your prayers as we "reactivate" monthly gatherings with internationals after a long COVID pause. Please consider registering to be a Friendship Partner. Use the button to fill out a registration form. 
Posted in: Missions

International Friendship Partners

The Lord is sending the world to the church and the church to the world. During the last year we had visitors attend worship services with us from Nepal, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Egypt and Iran. It was the first time for each of them to visit a Christian church service. How amazing is that?!
What a privilege God is giving us to welcome and be conduits of his love to the nations here in Baton Rouge. As LeeAnn Kozan shared, “It is exciting to see the heartfelt joy on the faces of our international friends as they interact with the love of Jesus.”  
Fifty to sixty internationals, and sometimes more, are attending our monthly gatherings which serve as a bridge for our people to meet, interact and befriend internationals in our homes. We cherish these opportunities to show genuine hospitality and love. After a recent gathering, Mitzi Barber asked, “Are they always so thankful and tell you thank you over and over again?” Yes! Some words used to describe our gatherings are warm, peaceful, family, happy, relaxing, love, beautiful, inviting, fun, joyful. They love and appreciate coming to our homes and being included in regular family activities. 
Our constant prayer is that God will bring those to us who are spiritually hungry and us to them. God is answering our prayers. We have 30 internationals registered for a Friendship Partner or Family and 12 currently waiting to be matched with an American Friendship Partner. Consider becoming a friendship partner, friendship family, host or prayer partner and register on our church website. 
LSU will be home to close to 2,000 international students this 2017/2018 school year. Three quarters of them are graduate level students; the brightest and best from their countries. Many are visiting scholars. Will you help us welcome them? Our next gathering is during the mission conference Saturday, August 19 for the International Friendship and Food Festival in the gym. Plan on staying from 12-2 pm for a taste of international food and friendship.
Posted in: Missions