Every year, international students flock to American universities for a good education and better jobs. Many of these students come from areas of the world who have never heard the name of Jesus. Living as a missionary used to mean traveling overseas to tell unreached people groups the Good News of Jesus. But today, the unreached are coming to us. Hence, the beginnings of international student ministry.
What is international student ministry?
International student ministry goes on in universities all over the country. Many followers of Christ saw the opportunity that international students had to hear the gospel, who might not have had the opportunity otherwise. They also saw the need there was to care for these “foreigners” as the Bible teaches us. It one thing to leave mom and dad when we go off to college. It is a whole other thing to leave mom, dad, country and culture (not to mention food!) and travel to a different country for university.
Meet both needs
International student ministry seeks not only to tell the students about Jesus but also to help meet their needs. That might include American culture assimilation, English conversation groups, international student group activities, teaching them to drive, helping them find doctors and such. Many needs can be met very simply by being a loving neighbor. And it is such a rewarding ministry to be a part of!
More blessed to give
Having been part of international student ministry for the past 4 years, I can say: it is a blast! I love meeting with students from around the world, learning about their home and culture, getting to taste amazing (and sometimes exotic) foods from their home countries, learning new words in different languages, and just having fun as they experience America for the first time.
It is also wonderful to see how God moves in their lives. Their deep hunger for the truth of the gospel becomes apparent as you share it with them. Most of the time, God has clearly been preparing them long before their arrival in the U.S.
The more I pour into these students’ lives, the more I see he is not just the God of the Western world. He is the God of all people and his life-changing message is for all!
The best part of international student ministry: it is so easy to get involved no matter where you live! If you only have an hour a week, you can volunteer your time to help students learn English or teach them to drive! It is a time to be able to share your faith in the God who saves and to bless those in need. You do not need to be a perfect English major, or even know other languages because the language that speaks the loudest is love.
Get involved today! There are thousands of international students waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Who else will bring it to them if you will not? And trust me, international student ministry really does bless you as much as it blesses them.