Today we stand at the threshold of a new revolution in modern missions. The world is at our doorstep. American families who are unable travel to China or India or Kenya now have the opportunity to reach people from these countries and over 230 other nations. We can share the good news from our own living room and be used by the Lord to make a difference in the world.
International students are coming to the United States by the hundreds of thousands. Today there are over 1,100,000 international students and visiting scholars walking our campuses (Institute of International Education, Open Doors Report). Universities are reporting record breaking increases in international student enrollment. Newspapers like the Boston globe are headlining news with words like “International Student Enrollment is Highest in 35 years.”. Despite the negative reports we may hear in the media, the educational system in the United States is the envy of the world. Nithyanantha J. Sevanthinathan, director of international programs for the Lone Star College system, says this about families from around the world: “The day their child was born, these families were dreaming of studying in the United States” (Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2009).
Jesus urged his followers to reach out to the strangers in their midst. In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” The Message version sums up Jesus words in this passage, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”
You too can have an impact on the world. I urge you to be a part of this revolution both abroad and at home. Pray for and partner with missionaries around the world. And, join with others in reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of international students at a nearby university (maybe it’s just minutes from your front door). A harvest of hope awaits those who are ready to take the next step:
1. Discuss over supper tonight the possibility of becoming a friendship family to an international student. Pray for the strangers among us, those international students who are thousands of miles from their family and friends feeling alone and afraid.
2. Encourage missions in your family and church to learn about other cultures and nations. Determine to become a family or couple that will model ministry within your local church.
3. Contact a local campus ministry, university foreign student advisor, or Crossroads International Student Ministries about “adopting” an international student into your family. International students are hungry for relationships and eager to learn about life in America so be prepared for a life-changing experience!
Billy Graham said, “As we develop friendships with these future leaders and executives, we have an opportunity to reach our world for Christ. You might be the person that God uses to bring the next world leader to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” (The World at Your Door, Bethany House).
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Make you kitchen table a crossroads of the world!
Greg Swinney, ministry facilitator
Crossroads International Student Ministries