Reaching out to our Daughter’s Dorm
“At first you think it’s so cool to go off to college, get away from your parents and just be with your peers. But after awhile, you want some interaction with adults….”
These were the honest comments of a student living in our daughter’s co-ed dorm, and my husband and I felt privileged to interact with this dorm for two years.
It was indeed an honor to reach out and love those students in the name of Jesus. Living only an hour’s drive away was certainly an asset, and this allowed us to easily access the dorm several times a month. Often it was just Mike and myself who drove in, but periodically some of our sons would also join us. Even mingling with our boys allowed some of the students to somewhat experience a family setting as they themselves were away from their homes.
Most of our encounters with those in the dorm occurred in the communal kitchen or living room area. However, if the door to any girl’s room was open, I would also pop by, and my husband would occasionally do so likewise on the guys’ floor.
Although it was not always feasible because of ride problems or studying, our daughter did come home with dorm-mates at times, either for a meal or an overnight stay. What a delight to extend hospitality right within our own home.
Coming into the dorm with a batch of home-baked goodies was always welcomed and seemed to automatically draw the students into the kitchen. Then there would be the hugs, the pats on the shoulder, and the general chitchat as to how studies were going. We had opportunities to encourage, pray, and comfort; we discussed various boyfriend issues and the need of acceptance. Mike even shared the gospel with one young man as they washed dishes together.
Perhaps some of our most memorable expressions of reaching out were those times of preparing an entire home-cooked meal for the dorm. Our daughter would post the date and time well in advance and we could count on most of the students being present for our hot, sit-down supper. The first time we were ready to begin our meal, Kristin announced that her father would like to pray a blessing over the food. One dear young man, a non-Christian who had been in our home before and knew our family practice of holding hands during prayer, blurted out, “Oh, but we have to hold hands!” What an incredible sight to see this group of mostly non-Christian students joining hands as Mike prayed. After that initial time, it was always a given that we held hands during prayer.
For Valentine’s Day, Mike has the habit of giving both Kristin and me flowers. While our daughter was living in the dorm for those two years, we also made sure all the girls there received something in the line of flowers on this special day. My husband maintains that even if the flowers do not come from a boyfriend, a young gal can always say she did get flowers and therefore feel included on Valentine’s Day.
This past Thanksgiving Day, Kristin’s entire dorm decided to cook a turkey dinner along with all the trimmings. Mike and I were most honored when we were also invited. In fact, we were not even allowed to take along any food for the occasion.
Now our window of opportunity at this dorm has come to an end. We are so grateful for the two years God prompted us to reach out and touch the lives of those special students. In the process, we ourselves have been so encouraged. To God be the glory!