You know the Great Commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV). But, what if the nations are coming to us? They are, through our colleges and universities.
In 2015, just two years ago, nearly one million international students studied at colleges and universities here in our country. They come from nearly every country of the globe. They come for education and opportunities. Most will go back home to use their education and skills in their homelands. Some of those homelands are not open to missionaries or Christians who are not nationals already. If international students become Jesus followers, think of the impact they might have as they return home.
February 23 is the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. In the past few blogs, I have encouraged you and your small groups to engage in this observance. Some private or Christian campuses near you may be having prayer observances on campus this Thursday. You may be able to support those meetings and participate. You may also help your small group or your church remember our colleges and universities in prayer in Sunday and Wednesday night services. Everyone can adopt a college and pray for that campus all year. I do.
However, international students on our American campuses give us an even greater impulse to pray for our campuses. How might your church or small group pray for and minister to international students?
- Many Christian campus ministries attempt to work with international students. Pray for these. Contact a Christian campus organization and offer to help with international students.
- Volunteer to be a conversation partner with an international. Many need to and want to develop their English skills. One way is to simply engage in conversation, about nearly anything. The Lord may open the door for your witness.
- Prepare and share a meal for a group of international students through an international club or a campus ministry group. Pray for an impact through this event.
- Invite international students to your church for special recognition and a meal. Pray over this event and the students who attend.
- Prepare welcome supplies to internationals at a campus near you. Many come without bedding, office supplies, shower and hygiene supplies, snacks or food. Most only come with one or two suitcases. That’s all they can carry on a plane. What an impact your group might make by giving such supplies as gifts. A Christian campus ministry can give ideas about what international students at their campus usually need when they arrive. Pray over every gift pack you put together.
- “Adopt” some international students. Invite them into your home. Learn about their customs and help them learn American customs. Pray for them.
- Give Bibles to internationals who would willingly receive them. Pray over every Bible.
- When you build relationships with students, celebrate their graduations and give them huge send-offs when they leave for home. Pray for them.
When God opens doors for internationals to come to us, let’s see His hand at work and partner with Him in this most unique opportunity to share the gospel.
Scripture: Read Leviticus 19:34: You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. How can you apply this passage to international students on a campus near you?
Dig Deeper: You can learn more about reaching college students at these links:
Now It’s Your Turn: At this writing, half the colleges and universities in the US have been adopted by prayer warriors for the Collegiate Day of Prayer, but 1,560 campuses are still unadopted for prayer. Will you go to www.collegiatedayofprayer.org and adopt a campus?