What do people from Istanbul, Moscow, Seoul, Cairo, Bangkok, Dehli, Riyadh, Sao Paulo and Beijing have in common? They and many others form the 1700 students and visiting professors from 100 nations who have come to study and research at The University of Tennessee. What else do they have in common? They have various kinds of needs while they're here - need for friendship, need to improve their English, need to understand American culture, need for encouragement in their academic journey, and the need to know the God of grace.
RUF International at UT aims to help our international friends in 3 basic ways, by: 1) Welcoming international students and scholars 2) Exploring the Gospel with them and 3) Equipping Christian international to be ambassadors for Christ's kingdom.
Lee Leadbetter and his wife, Jen, are both natives of the Knoxville area, where they met at the University of Tennessee through the ministry of RUF. Lee and Jen have 2 sons (Daniel and Phillip) and 2 adopted daughters from Haiti (Annie & Neissa). Lee served as youth pastor of Redeemer Pres. in McKinney, TX for 3 years, and then moved his family to St. Louis, MO, where he completed an MDiv from Covenant Seminary. After serving on a church-planting team with Mission to the World in Romania in 2005-2006, the Leadbetters returned to Knoxville where Lee completed ordination requirements through an internship with Redeemer Church. Lee has now been working as Campus Minister of RUF International at UT since January 2008.
Jenny was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. She attended Carson Newman University as a student-athlete; while playing tennis, she majored in Mathematics and Cross-Cultural Sociology. RUF was where Jenny found biblical depth and community. In 2014 through RUF, she was connected with Mission to the World for their summer internship programs. She spent the summer in Sofia, Bulgaria for The Well Internship. Then after graduating in 2015, she returned to Sofia where for the next 2 years she focused on teaching English as a Foreign Language, a supportive role in church planting, mentoring summer interns and sports ministry. In her free time, Jenny loves to travel, spend time in the mountains, play tennis, drink coffee and cook for her friends.