Jimmy from China said, “While growing up in China, I was told God didn’t exist. On the surface, I appeared to have a lot, but eternal peace was elusive. I had to find happiness, so I came to America. One day while eating with an American Christian on campus, he told me how Jesus gave him hope and peace. I was moved to tears because I longed for the same thing. That day I discovered the true meaning of life started with a love relationship with God through Christ.”
We are reaching the world on American colleges and universities. Will you partner with us?
Never in the history of the Church has a generation of Christians had a greater opportunity to reach the world for Christ than we have in America today. The United States hosts the greatest number of internationals of any country: close to 700,00 students from almost 200 nations.
International students must speak English before they begin their studies. They represent the brightest and most affluent people from their countries. Over 60% of these foreign visitors are from the least evangelized countries of the world. Most of them desire to make American friends while they are here, experience American family life, and understand U.S. culture better.
Most international students will return home when they graduate and excel in education, politics, science, government, and the military. They will not need to learn the language or culture, or need a passport. Imagine them going home as servant leaders of King Jesus…they could be missionaries to their own nations and areas of professional training and skill.
If an international student comes to America as a follower of Jesus, we need to follow the example of the apostle Paul and work to “help them continue in their faith, established and firm, and not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:23). If an international student comes to our country and is not a follower of Jesus, we need to follow the example of the apostle Paul and extend friendship, ask questions, listen to their story and journey, and ascertain how we might model and present Christ to them (Acts 17:16-34).
But stop to think about the global mandate that Jesus gave His church in Matthew 28:18-20. He said to “go and make disciples of all nations…” He then orchestrates the nations coming to us in America in unprecedented numbers since the end of World War 2. He did it, I believe, partly in order to lighten the stress it would cause on many of us having to leave our families, raise a missionary budget, and learn a new culture and language. He also did it to give a lot more Christians (and churches) a chance to have a global influence on the missionary advance of the Church by befriending one international student in their local context.
Students like Jimmy are one phone call away from an invitation to your dorm, home with your family over the upcoming holidays, friendship, then the Gospel itself. Every Chi Alpha chapter is diligently connecting with the international students on their campus to offer friendship, English conversation, growth and ministry opportunities, and safe conversations about Jesus.
Christians from churches nearby should contact campus ministry staff about partnership. If you live in the Northeast U.S., consider inviting an international you know to attend MOSAIC with you over Thanksgiving weekend. Go to www.MosaicEC.com for info. Will you make room in your life for one more friend? Serve globally. It’s about building His Kingdom, right?
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz