Elaine and Bob Metcalf reach out to international graduate students across the U.S. Living and teaching in East Asia from 2000 to 2007, they experienced being "the outsiders" and the need for friends in the majority culture. Upon returning to Richmond, they started the Mid-Autumn Festival Dinner at VCU in 2009 to welcome students and introduce them to like- minded hosts with "China hearts."
Seeing the opportunity to show hospitality to the students from more than 100 nations at VCU, the Metcalfs moved into the international community in 2012. Their apartment became a haven for students with loneliness, depression, legal problems, or a longing to improve their English. Soon pronunciation classes, weekly dinners, and a seeker study began. As relationships matured, students shared their lives; this often led to questions of life purpose, faith and God.
In 2017 the Metcalfs relocated to Linden, VA, where they continue to host internationals and visit former PhD students now spread across the U.S. in high tech jobs. The student work at VCU continues with a team of 10 volunteers, including John and Amy Grigg and Kate and Lex Strickland from Third.
Elaine continues to travel to Asia to invest in women who are leaders in their circles and in their professions. A program she began in 2007 for women to strengthen the roots of their faith has been invited to India in 2018. The Metcalfs stay closely connected with friends they met at VCU, wherever they are.