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A student asked me to walk with her and as we walked, she told me her story. At the end she asked if we could do it again next week. These days, it's hard to find the words to say when we hear the stories of so many of our students. At the beginning of the school year we often ask, “Where are you from?” The answer may be Mariupol, Kharkiv, Kherson, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tehran. 

A student told us, “My family is in Budapest and Warsaw, and our home was bombed.”

What do you say?

“Professor, I am leaving to go back home to fight. I won’t be in class anymore.”

What do you say?

So lately I have said, “Walk with me a little while.”

In our First Year Seminar class, we went through an exercise called “Tell Your Story.” In this exercise, students highlight three important facts about themselves. One Ukrainian student shared how it felt to leave home and arrive in Brussels with only a suitcase, not knowing the language, or having a place to go, but glad to be with her family. She ended with, “I am so grateful that I was accepted into LCC International University and could come to this place that was waiting to receive me. “ 

A few months ago, we had dinner with an alumna to listen to her testify of God's work in her life over the past six months. Afterward she texted, “I made it home ok. Thank you for not forgetting me.” 

Recently I spoke to a store clerk in Lithuanian, and she said, “I am Ukrainian. I can help you in English or Russian.” It seems everywhere we meet Ukrainians making their home here in our country. The border crossings are getting harder and longer. One mother of a former student braved the border to bring her son his belongings and to say goodbye as he has obtained a visa to Canada. I too hugged him goodbye.

What do you say?

I participated in a dorm activity where I was invited to tell my story. As usual, I brought food to share, but also reflected on place and belonging. Belonging feels different in a world that is so changed from last year at this time. It is a world where so many of our students are displaced, but a world where all of them can find belonging in the God who places rainbows in the sky. Pray with us for these students, our staff and faculty, and the university. And thank you for sending us to this place, at this time, where we know we belong by the call of our God.

Chris Van Zanen serves with Resonate Global Mission at LCC International University in Lithuania.


A sense of place and belonging are so important to each of us. Thanks for reminding us through these stories. 

Nazer Ahmed on February 1, 2023

Hey all so i was wondering if there is also concept of Qarz e Hasana or Interest free loan concept in Christianity there is a clear concept about it in islam a whole verse and many hadeed are there also i know there is a concept of loan free finance i Jews let me Know.

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