When I was in college, I had a lot of friends that were international students. I loved spending time with them, learning about their culture, and introducing them to mine.
That was, in a large part, due to the influence of College Heights Christian Church, the church that I called home while I was in college. This church loved people from around the world and tried as hard as they could to welcome them and make them feel loved.
That was important. Statistics during that time showed that over seventy percent of international students never entered an American home and even less ever checked out a church service.
College Heights connected international students with American families, taught English to refugees, and took international students on camping trips, but the Goat Roast was always my favorite day of the year.
Preparations for the Goat Roast began the day before the event. I would gather a group of my friends, normally from Saudi Arabia, and we would go to a farm outside of the city. We would meet a farmer from the church and slaughter some of his goats for the feast the next day. (This was always a fantastic experience, but it’s probably best I don’t go into detail!) We would then take the meat to several people from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, who would make the goat into their own cuisine.
The next day we gathered at the home of an elder from College Heights. Literally hundreds of people from around the world who lived in our community would gather in his backyard. We ate great food—including the goats—danced and sat around a fire late into the night.
Some of my fondest memories from college were made at the Goat Roast. I met some of my closest friends, including my wonderful wife, through that event. I also saw a church at its best. People from College Heights gave away their time, spent their money, and opened their homes because they wanted people from around the world to experience the love of Christ through His Church.
Jesus fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. God did some amazing things with four goats at the Goat Roast too.