‘Cards of Blessing’ benefit Internationals and Homeschool community

By Marilyn Stewart

International women students and the homeschool community at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary received gift cards totaling nearly $5,400 recently from First Baptist Church, Minden, La. The gifts coincided with the congregation’s month-long emphasis on “every member a missionary” and Cooperative Program giving.

Leland Crawford, FBC Minden pastor, and wife, Rose, delivered the cards along with canvas school bags filled with school supplies for each of the 93 homeschool children on campus during the fall trustee meeting Oct. 14. Crawford, an NOBTS alumnus, currently serves on the NOBTS trustee broad.

International students and student wives representing eleven countries — South Korea, Egypt, Romania, India, Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Burkina Faso and Haiti – received the gift cards during a the reception hosted by Rhonda Kelley, president’s wife, at the president’s home on campus. The gift cards were valued at $15, $20 or $25.

“My international friends and I were super excited and thankful for the gift cards. They were such a blessing and came at the right time,” Romanian student Maria Tone said. “We praise God for always providing.”

The 218 “Cards of Blessing” marked the third year First Minden has provided gifts to NOBTS students. Each year the church has targeted a different group of students. In 2013, FBC Minden delivered 60 home-cooked meals to seminary families. In 2014, the church distributed gift cards to NOBTS single students.

NOBTS homeschool coordinator Laura Riley accepted gift cards and cash totaling $840 for field trips and supplies for the NOBTS homeschool community. Canvas bags filled with school supplies and candy were provided for each of the 93 homeschool students on campus.

Rose said her memories of being a student wife at NOBTS and raising three daughters prompted her vision for the initiative that started three years ago. God was faithful though the days were lean, she said.

“We struggled financially…the Lord always supplied all our needs,” Rose said. “We didn’t have extra, we didn’t have excess, but we had what we needed.”