Teaching Students to Vacuum

1 Mar

I love the ministry that I am blessed to be a part of. In addition to our more traditional campus ministries we also have a vibrant international ministry and a growing food pantry ministry. Occasionally, I am amazed at the ways God’s spirit blesses us at the intersection of these persons. One of the ways that we invite international persons into the life of our ministry is through volunteering and service. For many it is the first time to ever step foot into a church.

During the set up for one of our monthly food pantries, I was helping direct students in ways to serve. I wheeled a vacuum cleaner over to one of our international students and asked her to vacuum the room. She responded with “Yes” followed by a long pause and “…but I don’t know how.” As I taught her how to use the vacuum cleaner, she shared with me that her family had always had maids around the house to do all of the cleaning. With grace and humility she cleaned the rug.

6 hours later, as we were cleaning up from serving well over a thousand people, I was in the same room with another international person. I wheeled the vacuum over to her and asked if she could vacuum the room. She quickly responded with “Yes” and again it was followed by a long pause. “…but I don’t know how.” For the second time that day I began going over the simple instructions on how to vacuum. She then shared with me that her home had a dirt floor. With grace and pride she cleaned the rug.

We are truly blessed by the people with whom we minister.


Rob Kirby is the Campus Minister and Associate Director at the Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois. He has been serving there since 2003 and is blessed by the incredible ways that the love of God is being made known to the diverse campus community. He has served as President of the Religious Workers Association which brings together over 30 different interfaith ministries that serve the University of Illinois. In addition to traditional campus ministry, he is also passionate about ministries with international persons and equipping students to be in service to the community and world. Rob recently spent a year of Sabbath and spiritual renewal with his wife and three children as he worked with the Christian Care Foundation for Children with disabilities in Nonthaburi, Thailand. http://www.ccdthailand.org/Rob also loves wood working, hiking, skiing and camping.



One Response to “Teaching Students to Vacuum”

  1. Deborah Lewis March 2, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Rob, I love the contrast between the women. What a great example of how campus ministry can reach people in such different places. And what a great example of how important it is to pay attention as we minister — it would have been easy to miss where they were coming from/how their needs were different, but you were present and observant. Thanks for this!

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