The Pittsburgh Region International Student
Ministries (P.R.I.S.M) provided international students arriving in
Pittsburgh with free furniture and household items on Sat, Aug 25, 09
from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Bellefield Presbyterian Church as
it partnered with about 200 churches from the region to show them
the love of Christ. This was their 27th year providing this service for
Boyd, the director of P.R.I.S.M said, "We do it because we believe it is
our first opportunity to welcome people to Pittsburgh and show them the
love of Christ by giving away something that is free. We want to
demonstrate God's love is also free."
Boyd wondered how many people in Pittsburgh
have any furniture left when they give it all away. For the first time
in 27 years, P.R.I.S.M decided to go away from the 'first-come, first
serve' basis and do a lottery system. About 300 tickets were given away
by 9:00 a.m. for the free service to begin.
"It [having the lottery system] is taking the
pressure of students to come so early. Last year, we had a student come
in at 5:00 a.m. They don't have to stand in line until the appropriate
time.", said Boyd.
Liu Huihong, a Chinese student who arrived
recently and got plugged into the Pittsburgh Chinese Church-Oakland
headed by senior pastor Hugo Cheng was so thankful.
"Thank you for providing so much. You are so
kind. First, I feel very good. It is amazing! Second, it is absolutely
fantastic, no word can make description.", said Huihong.
About 50 volunteers made this experience
possible for Huihong and many other students from different ethnic
Shailey Dedhia, Ruma Bhagwat, and Chaitale
Anandpara from India were very appreciative of the churches generosity.
"It's really good what they are doing. It's
difficult to get this much good stuff. We appreciate what church is
John Wang, Daniel Lu, and Qi Mao from China
echoed the sentiments of the Indian students.
"I think the church is very generous to help
international students. We are short of everything when we come here. We
rented a home and there is nothing in the home."
Other students wanted to give back to the
church for their generosity.
Ruchita Bansal, Rishu Thukral, and Parul Bansal
from India too had high praises for the church.
"We appreciate what you all are doing. I hope
we can one day contribute back!"
Mina Kabiri, a new student from Iran was
joyfully shocked with what the church was doing.
"It's very interesting; we do not have this;
not at all in our country.", said Kabiri.
Jamual Al Rifai, a student from Jordan was so
excited to get his bed.
"I want to sleep man", said Rifai
Weinan Ma, another Chinese student was so
excited to feed his apartment the free furniture and household items.
"I love them all [furniture and household
items] and can feed it to empty apartment. It is very helpful to us new
graduates who are fresh here and don't know how to get stuff. We don't
know where or how. New ones are too expensive for us. People we meet
here are very nice. We make new friends here.", said Ma.
His friend Qiu Ling Zhu echoed similar
"I feel so lucky. I want to thank the drivers
too for moving furniture to apartment.", said Zhu.
The churches had reached out with the love of
Christ to students of different ethnicities ranging from Chinese,
German, Indian, Iranian, Japanese, Jordan, South Korean, and Taiwanese,
and more by the days end.
P.R.I.S.M continues to be an outreach center
for international students through the semester.
Musical slideshow I from free furniture give away! (Sept 04, 09, 9:51
All pictures by Ramesh C. Reddy