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Lee and Jen Leadbetter - September 2019

Fall 2019: School's in Session

lb1In mid-August a new wave of students and scholars  from around the world packed their suitcases, hugged their families and friends goodbye, and stepped onto planes that would take them to a foreign land where nothing looks, sounds, and feels the same.  That'svscary!  We've had the privilege already to meet over half of them, and we are looking forward to journeying with them throughout their time at The University of Tennessee..  We welcomed 100+ UT internationals from 30 countries on Saturday night, August 24th, to my parents' home for our 12th annual Welcome Party.  What a wonderful evening with food from around the world, outdoor games, UT Trivia "entrance exam", singing "Rocky Top", and especially enjoying spending time talking with both new and returning friends.

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lb3Welcome Home

One of our dear friends from Bangladesh, who's pursuing his PhD in Biosystems Engineering, told me this after the Welcome Party:  "Ever since coming to the University of Tennessee Knoxville, RUF International has been a blessing in my life. At different events, I have shared many laughs, tasted delicious foods, learned about the global community, and made friendship with strangers from around the world. It truly has been a window to the world for me. RUF is a family that has embraced me with open arms, and I pray and hope that they would keep on extending their kind spirit and warm welcome to all future international students.”  And a Costa Rican student who's new to us but not new to the U.S said: "This is the first time I've not
felt like a foreigner in an American home."  That's because our aim is for our global guests is to truly have the feeling that they're with family.

Prayer & Praise
Praise for a fruitful summer of ministry
Praise for a great turnout for our Welcome Party and first Dinner & Discovery
Pray for God's Spirit to be at work pointing international friends to Jesus through our large groups, small groups, and one-on-one meetings
Pray for  our staff - Molly Farrell (new intern), Jenny Ott (Campus Staff), and me - as we seek to pursue God's designs for a new year of ministry
Praise God for incredible volunteers and pray He would add more students to that Ministry Team
Pray for our Fall Retreat Sept. 20-22 with UTC and Ga Tech to Camp Vesper Point, TN
Pray for our 4 kids (Daniel - 20, Phillip - 17, Annie - 12, and Neissa - 10) as they adjust to a new school year with many challenges and opportunities for growth

Housing Update
As many of you know, this past summer was hot!  We sold our home, bought a home, and also rented one (since we can't move into our new home until next summer).  Six hours after moving in to the rental house we had an electrical fire.  From that night, we've been living in a hotel, and will likely be here through November.  Despite how bad our "house fire" sounds initially, and granting a number of stresses and inconveniences, we see clearly how the Lord has been with us and cared for us beyond what we deserve.  And strangely enough, each day we return to the hotel we genuinely find ourselves feeling "at home", and appreciate the relationships we've been forming with the staff of the Residence Inn at Langely Place.