The Importance of Small Acts of Kindness:
A Perspective From an International Student
Being an international student posed many challenges of adaptation to living in a new place and culture. In my first semester, I really did not know what to expect as I came from Italy, a country with a different approach to study and language of instruction. Like many others, I came to Wesley by myself, leaving all my friends and family behind to embark on a new unfamiliar journey. I crossed the ocean and came thousands of miles away from home to the Nation’s Capital to come to seminary. I had some fears as to whether or not I am prepared enough and capable of coping with the changes that I was about to face.
The sensation of entering a new community, especially in a distinguished learning institution, was quite overwhelming. It was not just about being welcomed by the community, but also finding myself having the desire and intention to be part of it, which to me depend on knowing whether I fit in or not. I have certainties about myself which were cultivated largely within my family. One has to do with the attitude of being open and showing kindness not just to friends but also to others as a way to manifest God’s love.
With this being such a strong value of mine, I was deeply grateful that I found this same attitude pervading the halls of Wesley. Through the kindness of my fellow seminarians who have become my new friends and the faculty to include staff and administration, I have found my community.
I came to Wesley because I listened and heeded God’s call. After my first semester, my awareness that God has called us all and placed us together on this journey deepened. I like to think that when God moves us from one place to another, God is also moving new people for us to encounter in our new situation in life. God somehow has put us together to live as a community of Christian faith and, together planted here as the body of Christ, we are called to love each other and show kindness with one another.
We are on this journey together no matter where we come from. I wouldn’t have made it to my first semester without being embraced with kindness of my new community. I valued their concern and presence in the midst of hard transitioning time. And only together, in sharing kindness and love, can we all feel the loving care of our God, who guides us and never leave us alone. We are all called to be kind with one another, be fruitful together, because God has called us to live a precious season of our life at Wesley Community.
In the midst of transition in a new community, I am inspired by those following the example of Christ. Jesus is the one who showed what kindness means when out of the riches of his grace and love, he gave himself freely to save us. Just as Paul wrote: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2Cor. 8:9). For this warmth and kindness of community, I am grateful.
Author: Sarah Mae Gabuyo