Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries and Gatlinburg First Baptist Church hosted 80 students from 7 countries on January 8 for a dinner. Soups and rice and beans made up the heart of the menu. Desserts came from our friends in Swainsboro, Georgia First Baptist Church who delivered and served them with the added sweetness of God’s love. The heart of the dinner, however, was in the fellowship created with the students and in the love of Jesus Christ that was shared with them.
These students have come to work at Ober Gatlinburg for the winter season. Their international employer, Wojtek, came from Atlanta to attend –and brought more students who are working in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was an honor to have them there. Wojtek spoke to all of us about the value of this experience. Bill also spoke about making our world better through life connections and gifted responsibility. We have hosted about 10 of these January dinners and all agree this was our best ever! The students loved it and participated through constant music –rising to sing for each other. The volunteers managed it professionally and had time to engage with the students. Our Ober Gatlinburg management friends who came recognized how strong it was. It was a God-blessed night.
Many of the students are active Christians. Many of the students, however, are not Christians. After the meal and program, we walked into the sanctuary and had a holy time of discussion about hearing God’s whisper of love and saying “yes” to that love with your life. We then talked about baptism and Church traditions. Many students sat and simply prayed. It was a lovely experience in a quiet and holy place and moment. We then gave them Bibles in Spanish and Portugese and Polish and English with guides as to how to read the Bible.
Pray with us as we continue in relationship and friendship with these students.