International Students Serve with Local Ministry for Fall Break

DBU International students display their floral arrangements before taking them to the nursing home.
DBU International students display their floral arrangements before taking them to the nursing home.

Fall break on a university campus is often a quiet week. Most students have traveled home to be with the family, but for some students, home is too far to go, which is why DBU's International Office plans activities for international students throughout the week. Without school during the day, international students are given the opportunity to learn more about their new community and those around them.

During fall break, nearly twenty girls from the international department gathered to help the local ministry, Angel Wing Florals. Started several years ago by retired nurse Jeanette Bailey, Angel Wing Florals is an outreach ministry that arranges and delivers silk and fresh flowers to those in nursing homes, hospitals, retirement homes, and assisted living communities.

The idea for Angel Wing Florals came to Jeanette after sixteen years as a registered nurse when she felt the Lord gave her the idea of helping people beyond just their physical needs. "I felt like the Lord was calling me to do more with spiritual and emotional care, after years of giving physical care," expressed Jeanette. "He just gave me this idea--it's something that I never would have come up with on my own. It combines all of the things I love to do, and it's so rewarding."

During the morning, the girls arranged colorful flowers in small vases and then wrote personal notes of encouragement that they attached to their arrangements. "When everyone else leaves for fall break, the international students can't go home. I think it's important to do this with them because like 1 John says loving is an action," stated Rebecca Robson, an International Tutor. "Just hearing Jeanette talk, you can feel her love for the Lord, and I think the students will see the love of God through serving others."

After finishing their arrangements, the group traveled from DBU to a local nursing home that Jeanette partners with to deliver the flowers and sing hymns for the residents. Undergraduate student Mary Haufiku from Namibia, Africa, shared, "I think serving is my gift, and I was happy to participate. I've never known my grandparents, so I wanted to help someone's grandparents since I didn't know mine. It is an opportunity to do something good, and it brings joy to know that we are helping people."

Jen Coa from Southern China also expressed, "I just wanted to follow my heart and help people. I want other people to feel happy because we went to see them."

Although many miles away from home, the opportunity to serve with Angel Wings gave the girls from countries all over the world a chance to feel at home and appreciated in their new community, building new friendships and bringing joy to those they met.

Written by Sally Minyard