After investing more than $5 million in combined renovations on two dormitories, First Internet Bank has donated the buildings to Calvary Campus Church and its affiliated Chi Alpha Campus Ministries chapter. The dormitories, Ambassador Hall and Saluki Hall, stand on the campus of Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale.
Over the years, the majority of students living in the dorms have come to the university from foreign countries. Local leaders of Chi Alpha, a department of U.S. Missions, have long striven to make the dorms a home away from home, where local and international students can experience the love of Christ.
Although the donation took place in December 2020, the story really began in 1990, when Keith A. Hindman, general manager of Ambassador Hall, began trusting God for ownership of the buildings. Hindman also serves as an elder at Calvary Campus Church.
“I knew the story of Joshua marching around Jericho and God moving in a mighty way, so I decided to prayer walk and ask God to reach the international students that were living there,” Hindman remembers. During one of the walks, he says the words I’m going to give you the dorms dropped into his spirit.
At the time, Hindman, now 56, didn’t have the financial means to purchase his own home, yet alone dorms. But he believed God would fulfill His word.
In 2012, the First Internet Bank of Fishers, Indiana, foreclosed on the properties from the last owners and took possession of the facilities, which needed repair and upgrading. The bank hired Hindman as the general contractor and manager to oversee the $5 million renovation project, which included a new roof, heating and cooling system, windows, furniture, kitchen and bathrooms upgrades, new flooring, and a retaining wall around the building.
The bank managed the properties for a couple of years after completion of the project, but then began to look for buyers. During this time, Dana Heren, a longtime Calvary Campus Church adherent, worked as the maintenance manager for the properties. After several potential buyers fell through over the three years the bank attempted to sell the properties, he suggested the bank donate the facilities.
Internet Bank showed little interest at first, but within a few months the corporation began to consider what organization might be a worthy recipient of a donation of this magnitude. The financial institution contacted Bruce D. Payne, pastor of Calvary Campus Church, in October 2020.
The Assemblies of God Illinois District leadership provided support and helped Payne navigate the details of acquiring the real estate donation. By December, the two dorms officially became the property of Calvary Campus Church.
The dorms continue to serve students from around the world from a variety of faith systems, including Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu. Payne clarifies that the dorms are not “Christian” dorms; rather, they are operated by Christians.
“We believe for the Holy Spirit to saturate the atmosphere of the building to create a place where people are curious to know Christ and to hear the gospel in the context of friendship and relationship,” says Payne, 56.
Hindman and his wife, Leann, both felt God’s calling to missions. But instead of going overseas, they think God called them to serve those nations coming to the campus. Over the years they have mentored many students through relationships developed while managing the dorms.
SIU-Carbondale Chi Alpha director Kudzai Musumhi attended the school as an student from Zimbabwe from 1995 to 1997. He first connected to Calvary Campus Church through dorm life. He believes those who have prayed for students in the dorms have influenced over 100 nations for Christ.
“International students who come to the United States are usually those who are going to influence and impact their nations in big ways,” says Musumhi, 48. “When they graduate and return to their nations, they carry not just an educational degree, but also a passion for the gospel.”
Hindman notes that even under the previous owners, Chi Alpha had an opportunity to minister. But that potential has increased.
“Now our mission and our calling to make a home away from home for students is more than a vision,” Hindman says. “We actually have a place they can live and call home.”