'Jesus Day with International Students’: Christmas Dinner, 2010



Over 118 DMU international students attended Jesus Day celebrations hosted by the Emmanu’-EL Apostolic Church (EAC) and the Emmanu’-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy (EAGA) at the De Montfort University Campus Centre on December 25, 2010.br />

Members of EAC and EAGA gathered together to celebrate Jesus Day, that which the world propose to be the birth of Jesus Christ and therefore call it Christmas. Considering that the Christian meaning of this time is God’s gift to the world of his only son Jesus Christ, the organisations make it their responsibility each year to cater for the needs of international students within the De Montfort University.

Jesus Day began with the first service, which will be held annually, commencing at 8 am in the morning and then finishing at about 9am. At 2 pm the doors were opened once again for the international students, who were not able to go home for the holidays, to come and be a part of a family; sharing and dining with the members of the organisations. These included students and guests from Morocco, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, China, Kenya, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Sudan and even some from home, England.

On arrival students were greeted by an usher who took their names and contact details. She then led them to where they could get a hot drink and some snacks. After this they were directed to the chaplaincy where a cold buffet awaited them. They then chose from a spread which included rolls, wraps and sandwiches for both the meat lovers and the vegetarian.

As the guests sat down and ate, they watched a documentary regarding the truth about Christmas. The documentary shed some light on certain components of the Christmas celebration which included the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, Yule log and even the mistle toe. It revealed that Christmas was a Pagan ritual that the Catholic Church adopted as they tried to convert the pagans to Christianity.

The presenter for the evening, Pastor Samuel Gapara then led an open forum where members of the audience could voice their opinions or ask questions about what they did not understand about Christmas. Sister Antonia Whyte ministered the song ‘Now Behold the Lamb’ and members of the audience were impressed by her fantastic voice control and ministration, especially from a girl so young. Live music was played by members of the children’s choir.

Members of the audience introduced themselves and Pastor Samuel invited a member from each country to speak about how they celebrated Christmas in their country. A Chinese student said that only students in the university would celebrate Christmas and give gifts to each other as Christmas was not a part of Chinese celebrations. The floor was then opened for anyone to show a talent that they had a dance a song etc. A song was given by two Russian students and of the many Chinese students who were seated, one brave Chinese young lady got up and song a song which had many joining in with the clapping beat. They were also entertained by the sounds of Zimbabwe as almost every Shona and Ndebele singer rose up at the sound of Zimbabwe and joined in the song Masifika and other songs.

As members of the Gospel Academy, church, international students and other guests mingled and familiarised themselves with each other, 6 pm came and the dinner was served. Again, they ventured to the chaplaincy where they were greeted with a much bigger spread than before. A variety of different meats and foods were being heated in chaffing dishes. Many students looked in awe as this was beyond their expectations. Laid out in buffet style on the table were, rice and peas, jerked chicken, fried chicken wings, salads of different types, cow foot, turkey curried goat and roasted lamb, They were spoilt for choice as there was a variety of juices that could be had, however, many drank ‘The blood of Jesus’.