Today we are getting to know Melynda Schauer with International Student Ministry. I’ve been blessed to connect with Melynda through the blog in recent months and am so encouraged by her heart for ministry. I loved hearing a bit of her story and the way God has faithfully led her to ministry in her home and on campus with international students.
Introduce yourself to our group.
Hi! I’m Melynda Schauer, married to Dennis and mama to Sam (2.5 years old) and Timothy (1). Dennis and I are on staff with ISM at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and primarily minister to Chinese students, which I’ve enjoyed a lot because I grew up as a missionary kid in East Asia. We also are the directors for the Global Student Program (GSP), which we led last year and are excited to lead again in 2020!
I’d love to hear more about your life as a mom. What do you enjoy about being a mom?
I love being a mama to our two boys, watching them grow and learn new things. I worked full time for a TV station for six years before we came on staff, so it has been a true joy and blessing to primarily stay home with my sons and care for them. Having two kids within 18 months has been a major learning curve, and they have brought so much joy and laughter into our lives! I enjoy reading to my sons, watching them play together and seeing their personalities start to develop! They are a precious gift. And also redheaded, which is just extra adorable.
Tell me about your work with ISM. What do you like about it and how do you see God at work in it?
We’ve heard an estimated 80 percent of international students never set foot in an American home during their time in the U.S. What an opportunity for American Christians! One of my favorite things to do is simply invite students over to our home for a meal. We love the chance to show Jesus’ love through hospitality and friendship, and we pray that God would use us to soften our students’ hearts toward Him. We may be the first Christians they’ve ever met or eaten with, so we strive to reflect Jesus and His love to them in the way we welcome, serve and get to know our students.
Our team also leads Bible discussions a couple times a week on campus, and even though I’m not joining in those weekly discussions in this season, it’s been so exciting and encouraging for me to hear stories from those times! We know several brilliant students who are asking great spiritual questions, and we pray that God will give them the faith to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
What has it been like to try and make disciples during the child-rearing years?
It’s looked different almost every semester since we came on staff when I was 6 months pregnant. We often have our staff meeting at our house while the boys nap, and I usually drive separately to student events so I can get them home for bedtime. One semester I co-led a weekly women’s Bible discussion on campus (taking my nursing 3-month-old with me), but most of the time I’m home with my boys while Dennis is on campus. I love to host, so we try to invite students over for a meal every couple of weeks, and we plan larger events for holidays like Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with the help of our team. In the meantime, I pray for our students, text some of the girls and occasionally meet them near campus for a meal.
Do you have any other advice for us moms in the collegiate work?
Motherhood has been such a growing and humbling experience for me and has made me so aware of my dependence on Jesus! As a mom in ministry, I would say it helps to be flexible—often our plans or ideas of what “ministry” looks like on a day to day basis drastically changes when there are babies or small kids involved! One Nav staff mom told me she prays each week on Sunday, asking the Lord to show her where to spend her time and energy for that week, which is something I’m trying to grow in too—holding my plans with an open hand, trusting Him to bring forth fruit from the seeds we’re sowing, both in our children and the students we get to know.
How can we be praying for you guys?
Please pray for wisdom, grace and strength as Dennis and I parent our little boys, and that they would know the Lord from an early age!
Please pray for the students in our Bible discussions, that they would come to know the Lord.
For GSP 2020, that God would bring the staff, team leaders and participants He wants to grow together in community, discipleship and love for Him this summer!