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"Be do-ers of the Word, and not hearers only.”  James 1:22

Erin Hays had been praying for their family to have an opportunity to meet internationals. So when she and Andrew first heard about IFI at church they knew they were supposed to get involved.

Any of us would likely have many questions when deciding about whether to host international students during the pandemic. Andrew and Erin wondered if it was safe for them or the student to host. Andrew says, “We took our time and thought and prayed about it and decided God wanted us to do it, even in the middle of a pandemic!” 

They hosted 3 International students for short-term stays, the first, a young lady from China, stayed with them for nearly 3 weeks during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, in between apartment leases.  The second student, also Chinese, was there after arriving from New York City, and stayed until her lodging was ready about 4 days later.  Their last student was a man from India, who stayed with them for 1 week this winter as he awaited a campus apartment.  All three of these experiences were amazing opportunities for them to love their neighbors and learn many exciting things about other cultures.

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers”  Hebrews 13:12

As a couple, they have had several opportunities to share the gospel with those students. Since students were living with them in their home they not only got to hear the gospel, but they got to SEE the gospel as their family lived out their Christian walk.  The students witnessed morning Bible time, vacation Bible school, church service, bedtime prayers, Christian parenting, conflict resolution, laughter and love. They also saw normal family life stress, messiness, and the sin that comes with all people. 

Since they have four young children, (ages 6,7,8,10), life at their house is never dull. They found the best way for their family to handle it was to just fold the students into the mix of their crazy, chaotic, lovely family life. Their children loved having these students become part of their family. 

Some of the special moments they shared with students include:

  •       Their daughter teaching a student how to braid hair
  •       A student helping to run a photo booth and with crafts at a backyard vacation Bible school
  •       Their oldest son helping a student with their English homework
  •       Their children playing football, card games and puzzles with students
  •       Including students in their family Bible time
  • Conversations about Jesus with all 3 students

In case you missed it, the Hayes family was featured in the IFI online Banquet in April.  Click here to see the video.  

If you are feeling God calling you to host a student(s) for a few night this summer, please contact, IFI Volunteer Coordinator, Julie Wu at:   

Are you ready to befriend new students?

The training department has been offering webinars for volunteers on ethnic-focused outreach. These trainings are one way IFI seeks to invest in you and your ministry to internationals. Please see the topics we have covered below.  Please click on the links below and watch the webinar(s) that are helpful to you in your ministry.  Is there a topic that you would like to learn more about? Please email Leila, IFI Volunteer Manager, at: to let her know.  

IFI Volunteer Training: Caring for Internationals During a Pandemic

Befriending African Students: IFI Volunteer Training

Helping Chinese Returnees: IFI Training

Befriending Indians and Hindus: IFI Training

IFI webinar: Befriending students from a Muslim background