They serve you hamburgers, bus your table, clean your hotel rooms and rent you bikes on the boardwalk each summer. Who are they? They are international students from all over the world who come here on a work/study program (J1 Visa). They are more than 1400 strong and to most Americans, they’re invisible, but not to us and certainly not to God.
Grace Bible Church and other local churches partner with Virginia Beach Community Chapel (VBCC) in an international student outreach known as J1 Café. The ministry revolves around a weekly dinner party meeting on Tuesday evenings running from mid June to mid September.
What began in a private home with a handful of international students has become a dinner party attended by 400-500 people in the VBCC gym. At the dinner, students receive a free meal, play games, meet Americans and practice English. Students may also take advantage of the bike loan program, organized trips to DC and Kings Dominion, weekly Bible discussion groups and Sand Soccer.
The hope is that American volunteers meet students at J1 Café and develop friendships outside the Café. This is a relational ministry; as students get to know volunteers, they learn more about why we do what we do and who Jesus is in our lives.
Volunteers do not have to be able to be at every J1 Café, but we do ask that they register and if they plan on volunteering this summer, that they attend the cross- cultural ministry training. We are also looking for volunteers who can help with the following:
- Set up/take down
- Meal Prep
- Serve food
- Bike repair
- Sports Team
- Bible discussion
- English Corner
- Go on an organized trip
Here is this year's J1 Cafe Schedule:
- May 10, 6:30 p.m. - J1 Cafe Training – in The Studio, Lynnhaven Campus
- Note: If you are unable to attend this training, you may attend one of the training sessions being held at Virginia Beach Community Chapel, 1261 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, May 15th or June 5th, both at 7pm.
- Wednesday, June 13th, 7 p.m. – J1 Café Welcome Party at Virginia Beach Community Chapel! Come early to mingle and meet the students.
- J1 Cafes are scheduled on consecutive Tuesdays, 7p.m., starting June 19th through August 14th.
- Grace sponsored J1 Cafes are July 17th and July 24th. Extra help is needed in the kitchen, to serve and clean up.
- We will be taking sightseeing trips with students. Volunteers are welcome to join students on trips to:
- Busch Gardens, July 19
- Kings Dominion, August 2
- Washington, DC , August 16
More info about these trips will be available at J1 Cafe.
If you're interested in learning more about the upcoming 2018 Cafe's, please email Kathy at email@example.com.
Connect with us on Facebook at: J1 Cafe on Facebook and check out Virginia Beach International Student Outreach Program