Intercultural Studies majors find cross-cultural ministry in Columbia

December 10, 2018

By Naomi Balk

CIU Student Writer

As Columbia International University senior Emma Grace Ballentine was being served food by her Malaysian hostess, she sensed something was wrong.

“She was burning her hands (by) using a towel as she was serving us food,” said Ballentine recalling one of the first times her refugee friend hosted her for a meal.

Ballentine realized the refugee was still getting settled in America — and gave her some potholders.

“In the little day-to-day things (the refugees) see Christ through you,” Ballentine told a group of fellow students and assembled Intercultural Studies (ICS) professors.

Ballentine is just one of many CIU students with a heart for creating impact in communities of internationals and refugees in Columbia through building relationships. Two community impact teams of ICS students partnered with existing ministries to bless individuals in two apartment complexes in the St. Andrews area not far from campus.

They learned to create impact through consistently building relationships and being aware of the refugees’ needs as they allowed Christ to work in and through them. Some needs that the refugees have are transportation, English classes, and simple tasks like reading letters. And more importantly, prayer and discipleship.

“It is a relationship-driven ministry,” said Ryan McDaniel.

Abigail Cotton regularly assisted in English classes for refugees and internationals provided through Kilbourne Park Baptist Church.

“Consistency creates impact, one week at a time,” Cotton added.

Caleb Stober, shared how after building a relationship with one man, he had the opportunity to pray with him that God would provide needed transportation. When the two met weeks later, the man told Stober that God had indeed provided a car for him to get to work, just as they had prayed.

Excitement is building on the CIU campus with a dramatic increase in enrollment and on-campus expansion including the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business & IT Center and a new baseball program starting in 2019. Information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.