This weekend was the first “normal” weekend we’ve had since school started this semester. On the first weekend we had barely arrived home from all of our travels, and only had some of the usual activities with students. Last weekend, we were up north in the Keweenaw at the chapter’s winter retreat, so none of those usual activities happened either. But this weekend we had the full schedule. And full is how it felt!
On Saturday mornings, we have been hosting a group of (American) students for breakfast and discipleship training. With the group from last semester we looked at the Five Thresholds of Conversion – a fancy way of looking at the stages of how people generally come to know and follow Jesus. This semester, we started another group of students and they are also going through the same material. But the tricky part comes with the fact that the first group hadn’t quite finished up yet… so we decided to run two simultaneous groups!
How does that work? Hans is continuing with the first group, which happens to be smaller – a mere seven students – and they get the privilege of eating breakfast and meeting upstairs in Caleb’s bedroom. (Why Caleb’s bedroom?… the spare bedroom has absolutely no furniture in it currently… maybe we should finish that room!) The new group, which has 16 students, gets to meet in our livingroom with me. I’m excited to lead the group through the material and see them grow in their faith. (I’m also more than a little nervous to be leading something like this!) The goal is to work through all of the material by spring break, which also happens to be near our baby’s due date, and then we will combine both groups and Hans will continue with them.
On Sunday nights this semester we will be hosting two leadership meetings over dinner, with additional students joining for dessert. This group was a little smaller – only eight students made it for dinner this week, though I’ve been told that number was a little lower than usual. But seven more joined for dessert, so we still had a good crowd.
I have been thankful for the size and location of our house many times in the past two years, but this weekend made me thankful again. It was wonderful to see our house full of students, and to see so many students excited to grow in their faith, lead the chapter, and encourage others to grow as well. We dreamed of having a house full of people when we bought it, and it is great to see God filling it up!
During last night’s leadership meeting, Caleb and I ate our dinner in the Bible Study leader’s prep meeting, since attendance was low this week and there was room at the table. The group is in the middle of the Gospel of Mark, and a miracle of Jesus healing a blind man was mentioned. We were all surprised when Caleb immediately began to tell us how Jesus spat on the ground, made mud, put it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go wash his face in water and be healed! (This particular miracle happens to be recorded in the Gospel of John, but that’s a minor detail!) I don’t even remember when Caleb first heard this story of Jesus, but he had all of the details correct. I am starting to see that having students come to our house for trainings, Bible studies, and other events is not only teaching students, but also teaching Caleb!
Spring has finally sprung (at least for the weekend, although the forecast is looking good in the Keweenaw next week!) and we’ve slowly been coming out of our winter shells. Caleb has finally decided he likes going outside – which has been encouraged by 30 degree weather, instead of the subzero climate we enjoyed all winter – and we’ve gotten out for some fun water-splashing walks in the past week.
We’ve had some fun since our last post: I modelled in a fashion show for African Night, Hans spent a week with students in Milwaukee over spring break, and Caleb and I spent some of that week visiting my parents in Minnesota. It was nice to see family and enjoy a giant fish fry hosted by my cousin – complete with lots of yummy fish he and his family caught ice fishing and halibut brought down from family in Alaska. Caleb didn’t care for the fish, but I definitely enjoyed enough for both of us!
The Friday that Caleb and I were in Minnesota, Hans hosted an international potluck at our house and enjoyed lots of food and friends. He had the honor of meeting a family from Ecuador (and speaking Spanish with them!) and yesterday Caleb and I were able to meet them as well. I love that we get the privilege of meeting and getting to know so many people from so many places. And it was extra special to have someone to talk to in Spanish!
We’ve also begun hosting a group of freshman InterVarsity students on Saturday mornings for brunch and training in evangelism. They had been meeting on and off for the past few months, but wanted more training and we were happy to oblige! We have plans to meet for the next three weeks to continue looking at the different stages people experience in their journey to faith in Jesus. It was fun to hear conversations happening and see the students’ love for their friends who don’t know Jesus. (And I love feeding students, so it was fun to serve breakfast to them!)
With the promise of spring ahead, I’m excited to see what April holds. We’ll see what the next month brings in the Nyberg household!
Our Bible studies on Saturday nights have continued to be a place of diverse cultures coming together in fellowship and study. Last week we had one of the largest (and mixed) groups yet:
- Two Americans (the two of us)
- Two Thai students
- Two Indian students
- Two Chinese students
- Four Nigerian Students
Exam week we held a big Christmas party with international students where we ate lots of good food, learned a little about Christmas traditions, and had a white elephant gift exchange. (Caleb made out with a nerf shotgun, so he enjoyed his first white elephant experience!)
Since beginning the new semester, we’ve started holding international dinners again and had our first one last Saturday. The dinners were held every other week last year, and we didn’t realize how great it was to have a chance to eat and chat with international students we don’t see all of the time until we stopped holding the dinners. We’re excited to have them going again.
We attended Chinese Night in January, which celebrates the Chinese New Year. The night included dinner and a performance, and we enjoyed yummy Chinese food (including one of our favorites – Chinese dumplings) and got to see the Chinese student group put their twist on the folk story The Lotus Lantern. Even though we’d never heard the story before it was easy to follow along and was very funny!
Looking Ahead: There are a bunch of other celebrations coming up. The first one is this tomorrow – African Night (March 1). International Night is March 23, Iranian New Year is March 29, and the Thai New Year Festival is April 5.
If you’re in the area and interested in attending one of these events, let us know and we’ll help you get tickets!
What on earth is an huminta, you ask? It’s easier to show than explain…
First, you separate the corn from the husk – cutting off the bottom of the cob so that the leaves peel off intact.
Then you cut the corn off the cob, grind it, and add cinnamon, sugar, salt, oil, and anise seed
Then you overlap two leaves and add a small slice of cheese. Once you’ve folded the leaves over and tied the little bundle shut, all that’s left is cooking the humintas.
To prepare the pan, place some of the used cobs in the bottom of the pan and lay extra leaves on top of them (to prevent the bottom humintas from burning on the bottom of the pot). Place the tied humintas on top of the leaves, stacking them on top of each other. When all of the humintas are in the pan, place a layer of leaves on top of them. Add boiling water so the pan is about 1/3 full, cover, and let cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
The jovenes (college students) at our church decided we needed to learn how to make humintas and so last Monday they all came over. We didn’t realize the process would take so long… though it only took an hour or so to get the humintas in the pan, it took a lot longer to cook them! But since Monday was a holiday, we enjoyed the time together.
Of course, we didn’t just make humintas. Lots of Dutch Blitz was played, a movie was watched, and Caleb was loved on.
Just in case you want to try your hand at humintas, here are the proportions we used:
25 ears of corn (makes about 4-5 quarts of ground corn)
1/2 – 1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp anise seed
1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
2 Tbsp oil