I was spending time in a cemetery recently as part of my quarterly routine of silence and solitude. My goal is to be quiet and walk with the Lord, reflecting on a passage of Scripture and allowing the Holy Spirit to talk to me. I structure my day into segments of reading, meditation, and listening, with no effort to ask or petition for anything but His presence. I walk, sit, relax, and even spent some time reading the headstones of those who have died. You’d be surprised at what is written (or not): many just have their last name, some have full name, date of birth and death, and some have a phrase (loving wife), or a description…one I saw said, “ Friend of Immigrants.”
It got me thinking of how my immigrant relatives were received when they first arrived in America from Poland. I am grateful for the reception they received at Ellis Island.
America has been a great international gathering place and I believe this is no accident, but an intentional and important part of God’s strategic plan for world evangelization – especially when you realize countries are closed or closing to missionary efforts.
The American Church, and those of us on campus, and/or interested in university ministry, have an unprecedented opportunity to play a key role in fulfilling Christ’s Commission described in Matthew 28:18-20. By demonstrating Christ’s love-in-action to foreign students studying here, praying for and winning them to Christ, and discipling them in their new found faith, we can literally influence nations for God’s Kingdom.
The best part about reaching out to an international student is that it is so easy. You do not need any special abilities, background, or cross-cultural qualifications. You do not need to learn a foreign language, travel and adjust to a new culture, or raise a lot of money. All you have to do is be a loving friend. And Chi Alpha can help you get started.
Here are reasons supporting the idea that we can reach the world without leaving campus.
International Ministry is a Biblical Principle. The idea of sharing Christ with men and women temporarily away from home is not new. The Book of Acts cites the accounts of the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius the centurion, and Lydia the merchant.
International Students Here Today Include Tomorrow’s World Leaders. Other countries send the “best of their best” (see below).
This is An Answer to Prayer Regarding Closed Countries. I once discipled a Chinese student who returned home and ascended to a top-level government position.
Christian Internationals Return to Their Country as Missionaries. Imagine how effective a student could be…who faces no language or cultural barriers, does not need to spend time raising a mission budget, has credibility and contacts, and is a Christ-follower.
Do you have room in your life for one international student? Live communally. You will find that investing in the life of a student is a rewarding and fun adventure. Get involved in what God is up to on campus. Make sure you are a “friend of the visitor” among us.
Love is a verb,