Ashley Dortch became a part of Restoration about a year ago when she relocated to N. Dallas to marry her husband Chris and connect with international students at the University of Texas at Dallas. You may of seen her checking children in for children’s ministry or helping international students feel welcome at our Sunday morning service. Ashley works full time for Bridges International, an arm of Cru (previously known as Campus Crusade for Christ). We asked her to share what she does and how Restoration can join her in reaching the world in our own neighborhood.
Describe your ministry.
I reach out to college international students and scholars, through the ministry of Bridges International. Bridges International is a caring community of Christ-followers committed to serve, promote social connections and engage in spiritual conversations with international student so that students become leaders internationally. I spend most of my time at UT Dallas, where we collaborate with other international student ministries to reach out to the 5,700 internationals from 102 countries, though most come from India and China.
How did you get involved originally?
While I was attending the University of Iowa, I met several friends involved with Cru and through those relationships, God radically changed my life. I started following Christ personally and saw the impact God made on me through these friends. Eventually, I interned with Cru at Iowa and I ended up meeting several international students who were very open to having spiritual conversations and grew incredibly while they were studying in the US. As a result, I joined Bridges International to partner with people reaching out to international students and be a part of God’s work among the nations right where I’m at.
What has motivated you to continue to be a part of this ministry?
Seeing God at work in the lives of others from around the world. Knowing this is a glimpse of what is to come and God is in the process of fulfilling the vision in Revelation 7:9-10: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Are there upcoming projects that Restoration can support you in?
Yes! I’d love Restoration to help. Here are a three upcoming projects in August:
- We need help picking up 1,000+ international students from the airport. Over 1,500 incoming UTD international students arriving in Dallas between July 21 and August 20. We partner with the university and serve these incoming international students by picking them up at the airport and bringing them to their housing around UTD in Richardson. This can be the start of an enriching relationship. If you’re interested, sign up online.
- We also need volunteers to help us at the Big Howdy Welcome Party on Friday, August 17 from 6-9pm. Big Howdy is the largest welcome party held on UTD campus at the Student Union Outdoor Plinth and mall area (outside to accommodate everyone). We need volunteers to help us with registration, greeting and meeting UTD international students. If you are interested in volunteering at the Big Howdy Welcome Party, email Ashley Dortch.
- The day following the Big Howdy Welcome Party is our Furniture Giveaway (Saturday, August 18) from 1-5pm at The Heights Creekside Campus (1105 N Waterview Dr). We give away large furniture like beds, sofas, tables, chairs and small items like dishes, flatware, linens, hangers. There are a few ways to help with the Furniture Giveaway:
- Volunteer to help on Saturday, August 18 from 1-5pm. We need help moving large items, people with trucks to move furniture, greeters and those helping with small items, and someone with a CDL driver license to drive a bus and bring students to Creekside. Email Ashley Dortch.
- Donate new hangers and new linens. You can bring items to Restoration by Sunday August 12.
- Donate furniture beds, sofas, chairs, desks, tables, plates, silverware, pots and pans, etc. by contacting the Big Howdy.
Are there ways that people at Restoration can become personally involved in your ministry?
Pray: I can add you to my regular prayer letter update.
Give: Donate to support our ongoing ministry.
Volunteer: Join in back to school activities or other events later in the year.
Connect: Help me connect with others interested in partnering in ministry to international students.
How can Restoration pray for you?
Pray for the start of the semester; we have a lot of events occurring to welcome, meet and befriend internationals to help aid in their transition to life in America. May God guide our efforts and lead us to students. Pray that we would get connected to Christian international students who are looking for fellowship. May God be at work, drawing students to himself. Pray for my boss Mike as he recovers from brain surgery. Pray against any infections. Also pray as I take on more of his directing role in his absence. And pray God would build up our student leaders to serve Christ and others for a lifetime wherever they may work and live.
We encourage you to get to know Ashley and learn more about the amazing opportunities we have to reach out to international students. Learn more from www.bridgesinternational.com.