Story by Sydney Anthony, Contributing writer
The Baptist Campus Ministry has taken advantage of the mix of cultures at Murray and attended the International Student Conference in Cave City, Kentucky, this past weekend, Nov. 4-6th.
Rebecca Fountain, graduate student from Paducah, Kentucky, attended the conference along with seven other American students and 38 international students from 20 different countries. She said that Murray State usually has the largest group out of all the participating schools in Kentucky.
“This is not your typical conference,” Fountain said. “The main goal of the convention is to teach international students about Jesus and how he loves them.”
Fountain said that many of the international students don’t hear about Christianity until coming to America, and this is the first time many of the international students have attended the conference.
“I hope by the end of the conference students know without a doubt there is a God that loves them and longs to be in a relationship with them,” Fountain said.
To allow more students to be able to afford the conference, the Baptist Campus Ministry pays for the hotel and transportation. Fountain said that international students were only responsible for the cost of the conference itself and meals.
An “Howard” Li, senior ESL student at Murray State from Taipei, Taiwan, attended the conference. He said he was able to tell people his faith story of learning what Christianity was once he came to Murray State.
During his time at the conference, Li said he participated in the talent show, playing guitar for those in attendance. He won the “Best Talent” award out of all the contestants, who exhibited a variety of talents, including playing instruments, singing and traditional dances from their home countries.
During one of the sessions, Li said he was able to learn more about Christianity by talking with members of a band that played at the conference.
Marina White, senior from Shelbyville, Kentucky, was a table leader at the conference, which she has attended for three years. She said she was able to lead students in discussions about religion.
White said that along with religious discussions and main sessions to introduce the Christian faith, a band comprised of musicians from around the world perform secular and worship music.
“At the conference we also made s’mores, explored a cave, petted kangaroos, dressed up for the dinner banquet and danced the night away during the international dance party–all while meeting new friends,” White said.
White said that her favorite part about the convention was the dance party. She said students had fun listening to songs in their language and teaching others about their culture.
“I wish that every person could have the cultural experience that this conference offers,” White said. “It really changes your perspective on the world.”