After two years of Covid, Ocean City is once again welcoming hundreds of international students to fill summer resort jobs. That’s also great news for Ocean City Baptist Church’s (OCBC) international student ministry, which has also been on hold due to the pandemic. Earlier this month, an amazing three hundred students arrived at OCBC for the church’s weekly Monday meal for the students and OCBC Pastor Sean Davis is thrilled.
Davis said this year, most of the workers are from the Dominican, and the rest are from Bulgaria, Khakistan, Turkey, and Romania. The dinners are tremendous opportunities for church members to mingle, get to know students, and invite them to other church activities. There’s a lot of talking and laughing in a relaxed environment.
The church gives out free bicycles on the first Monday of the season. They had 100 this year and ran out quickly. It’s a popular program, and the community responds with many donations throughout the year. Volunteers tighten seats, pump up tires, lubricate chains, and get the bikes in good working order.
Davis said, “We have three guys in the church who take on that ministry through the winter. They get the bikes ready to go and then a week before we distribute them they check the seats and breaks.” The bikes are very popular and Davis said, “We could give out 500 but we can only manage the 100.” Some of that is due to storage, he said. They are interested in other storage options or other churches that may want to partner.
Other international student outreaches include a weekly coffeehouse on Fridays and small group English lessons several times a week.
International student ministry has been fruitful through the decades. God has blessed this outreach, and many students have made decisions to follow Jesus. Davis and other workers have coordinated with Christians from students’ home countries to help them plug into churches when returning to their families at the end of the summer. Several past summer students are now serving in ministry in their home countries. OCBC members keep in contact through social media; some members have traveled overseas on missions to work with past students.
You Can Help: Health Kits
One of the ways OCBC connects with students is by using health kits. Maryland/Delaware churches put together bags with specific health cares supplies, such as soap, toothbrushes, towels, and other such items. OCBC, and other Maryland/Delaware ministries use the kits as another way to engage people in conversation.
Davis said the church recently ran out of kits they were giving to students. A fresh supply was delivered, but they will need more through the summer. Your church or small group can help. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to be on mission.
Visit our website for details.
Sharon Mager is a communications specialist and BaptistLIFE correspondent.