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December 9, 2018

Over the last several years, Larry and Jackie Chek have invested in international home groups. They have loved developing relationships with UTD students, so when they were asked to be table hosts for Alpha last September, it was an obvious “yes!”  Alpha is a series of small group sessions that explore the Christian faith through the use of videos and table discussions. With so many international students that move to Richardson each fall, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce them to both Jesus and American culture. “The point of Alpha is to create relationships with the students,” said Larry Chek, “and all of ours are international students and recent graduates. They’re from places like India, China, South America, and Taiwan. They don’t know anybody here. This helps them to connect with American Christians for friendships and helps them feel part of what’s happening in our country.” The Alpha sessions started with 35 students – a full house! And even more encouraging were the 20 students that attended all 15 sessions. Along with their commitment to be table hosts, Larry and Jackie also offered to host the weekend retreat following Alpha at their ranch outside of Dallas. For them, this was a natural expression of hospitality towards this group of students exploring Christ. On the first weekend of November, 15 UTD students and a few Heights volunteers boarded a bus for the Chek’s ranch. They arrived after dark and the students were immediately awestruck by the star-filled sky. It was the first time many of them had seen the beauty of the night sky in all of God’s glory. “They’d never really experienced a place like that. They were just out in the open country in the woods and able to experience the night sky the way it can be. They just kept thanking us for opening our home,” Larry said. In an entirely new country and culture, the students enjoyed a great weekend with new friends. New experiences such as hiking, spot clay shooting, and ranch animals complemented real discussions about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Chek’s are grateful to be given the opportunity not only to serve and love these students, but engage them in gospel conversations. “I feel like I’m a missionary, but I don’t have to go anywhere because they’re already here - thousands of students in the Dallas area and many more across the country. When we just reach out to the students that are studying in our nearby universities, it’s amazing how many we can reach. These students are going to be leaders of their countries, the brightest of the bright,” Larry said. He added, “I think that when we are ministering where God has placed us, it’s not really work. There is joy that carries us along because it feels very natural and supernatural. We’re just operating with a sense of the Holy Spirit in power, and it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like delight.” What a beautiful example of “Be Joy.”

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