So it isn't the 5000 that Jesus fed in one afternoon that we read about in Mark 6, but in the past month the BSM at UTD has fed about 500 students lunch for free! Starting the week after Labor Day, we have had over 100 students come to our free Monday lunches. This number is consistently higher than anything I have seen before at UTD, and it is terrific!
Students are given a free meal and then participate in discussions around their tables, led by one of our student leaders, or a local church volunteer. We try our best to work the Gospel into every conversation, so hundreds of students are exposed to the good news of Jesus each week.
Last week, I was able to spend an hour talking to a girl named Sarah who has been coming to lunches fairly consistently since last school year. Sarah was raised in a Muslim home, but she and her family are not actively practicing, and she has explored Buddhism and Christianity, as well. We were able to share with each other tidbits of our lives and what we want out of life, and it was a great base for further conversation and a continued relationship.
And I am not the only one. Many of our student leaders have extended the relationships that began in the Monday lunchroom out to their day-to-day lives on campus. This is where we see real growth toward belief and faith in Christ, as well as a good picture of lifestyle evangelism from our students.
One of my favorite things about lunch is its openness toward all students. The majority of those who come in are not Christians, and many are international students. When I ask how they heard about lunch, the common response I receive is, “My friend invited me." But these aren't friends they have that are already BSM members; they are other non-Christian, international students who came to lunch last week, enjoyed it, and told their friends. So they are giving us the opportunity to share Jesus with their friends, and it is such a great opportunity! I am encouraged by this evidence that students feel comfortable in coming to our lunches, expressing their beliefs and opinions, and participating in dialogue with us; the value of that is incredible.
Pray that God would continue to bring students who don't yet know him to free lunch, and for boldness in our leaders to declare His name, praise Him for who He is, and share His Gospel with everyone they meet. And let us feed 500 or more, every month of this school year!
Kinsey Cline serves as a campus missionary through the BSM at the University of Dallas with Go Now Missions.