Hospitality Center for Chinese is reaching many of the 3,000 Chinese students studying at the U of M.
More than 3,000 Chinese students currently study at the University of Minnesota. They arrive with a variety of educational and career aspirations. Some are undergraduates, hoping to earn their first degree. Others come aiming to finish a master’s or doctoral degree. Still others arrive with their families as visiting scholars.
Of those 3,000 students, 80% of them will return home without ever having been invited into an American home.
That’s according to Tim Grunditz, the new executive director of the Hospitality Center for Chinese (HCC), which is located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.
For more than 20 years, the HCC has demonstrated love and hospitality to thousands of Chinese students on campus.
Grunditz said the HCC’s goal is to try and make missions more feasible for churches.
“We do home stay, host family stuff,” he said. “We coordinate meals, snow skiing in the winter, picnics in the summer, ice skating, all sorts of fun events. Ultimately, we are trying to make missions more feasible for churches. It’s expensive to send mission teams to Asia. It’s not very expensive to go ice skating with a group of Chinese students who have never been warmly welcomed and invited into an American’s home.”
Even though the students are from cultures much different than American culture, Grunditz believes they are eager to learn more about the U.S.
“They’re hungry to learn American culture,” he said. “They’re hungry to be accepted in a foreign culture, in a culture that’s at its very core very different. We’ve seen just great fruit in conversations. We’ve seen great fruit for the gospel, and it stems from just opening up your home for dinner or taking some students sledding.”
For students who will spend the next several years away from their families, the HCC finds ways to make them more comfortable while they are here. That not only includes fun activities but also meals.
While these actions may seem simple, they can have long-lasting effects.
“What we try to develop is as believers we have a sense of family from our heavenly Father, a sense of love from our heavenly Father that we can show to our students when they come here,” Grunditz said. “What we’re trying to create is a host mom and dad or a host brother or sister who is really willing to show a sense of family, a sense of love that comes from family that comes from God. This love, what I hear over and over in letters and emails from Chinese, is really life changing for many students.”
It’s easy for churches and ministries to get involved with helping demonstrate the love of Christ to Chinese students. In fact, the HCC has developed a list of nearly 100 ways for churches to take action.
“If your church does potlucks, let us invite 10 Chinese to your potluck,” Grunditz said. “We’re not looking to change what you do as a church; we’re looking to add a flavor of the Great Commission in reaching the whole world for the gospel to what you’re already doing.”
To see how you and your church can become involved, visit www.hcchinese.org.