SS Writes – Nov 2019
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In the name of the Lord who loves us with everlasting love that transcends all logic and imagination, greetings! “Unconditional’ – that one word explains, though not fully, his love for us: a love that conquered us even when we were in enmity with him.
We, as children of God, are expected to love others. How visible is our love to others? I’ve heard it thus, and I cherish this statement: “love unexpressed is not love at all”. One way to express this love is the hospitality we extend to others, and also the care we genuinely give to another person. UESI ministry has always been characterized by these two expressions. Hospitality and care for one another were our trade marks. I have heard testimonies of people who have enjoyed the hospitality of their senior mentors. Prof. H Enoch, who was instrumental in establishing the UESI ministry, is justly popular for the “package offer” he extended to one of the early staff workers: “if there is food in my house, you won’t starve”. The sacrificial lifestyle of such people, and their willingness to be spent were, and still are, the strength of our ministry. But, dear friends, it costs. It demands our time, energy, money and convenience. But it is eternally rewarding. We need to remind ourselves that such people’s lifestyle and hospitality gave us a unique place in history. May I urge each one of us to examine ourselves to see the cost we are giving to demonstrate the love of Christ to our fellow believers, especially in our context of student ministry.
What do we give? The lustre and glitter do not count much. Costly gifts or elaborately laid out food are not our marks of hospitality or care. What matters are the way we welcome others and the willing joy of sharing that flows out from us. I remember occasions when graduates and staff members have covered long distances to meet and give fellowship to one student or a discouraged graduate. The love of Christ and love for people made them do that. Today we have grown high in number. But how many of us have that love for those students who need our presence, encouragement and support? How many of us are willing to invite a student or a graduate in need to be with us in our house? How much of our time, which God is graciously giving every day, are for our students and other believers? “… God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints (Heb 6:10). Again, the Bible reminds us: ‘Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb.13: 1-2). Through the ministry of hospitality, we share the things we value most: home, financial resources, food, privacy and time. In other words, we share our lives. The ministry of hospitality is not a small thing. The impact of it will touch generations. It is also an investment we put in the heavenly treasury.
UESI has always been faithful for its concept of ‘Open Home’ which means, a place where students and graduates can come without any formality. It is supposed to be a place people are welcomed, perhaps a home away from home. Many of us are still glued to the ministry through warm memories of the open homes and our foster parents there, who have helped us in our early steps in faith, have nourished us with many a hot meal, or have provided a roof over our heads when we just needed it.
May God give us the grace to extend hospitality by welcoming others to our homes and be spent for them, not expecting anything in return. It is both an act of obedience and an expression of our gratitude towards God for his love.
October was a month of activity. Senior Graduates Get-together conducted at Muvattupuzha on 23rd October was attended by 40 persons. Sharing of our beloved seniors was touching. LTC for South Region was conducted at Kristhujyothi Animation Centre, Kottiyam ( 4th to 8th Oct.) 12 students attended. NIT- Calicut EU arranged one DTC (4th to 8th Oct.) at UESI Kerala Centre. Out of 15, 2 students were from IIT, Palakkad. Another DTC was simultaneously conducted for Kalamassery Rajagiri students at the residence of Thomji and Nisha, attended by 5 students. South Central region conducted PBS Workshop at Thiruvalla. 23 students were trained. 50 students attended the evangelistic camp conducted at Carmel Mandiram Auditorium (Plankamon). There were 30 participants for the regional night vigil conducted at Kottayam. Freshers’ welcome programmes were conducted for TKMM and MBCET Colleges in Kollam on October 15th and 18th respectively. 2nd October was observed as prayer day in five places.
May the Lord bless us all!