The World is HERE. Is Your Door Open?
Why should we open the door to welcome international students?
For God’s sake
When we read Revelations 5:9, we know that God’s desire is for international worshippers from every tribe, language, people and nation. God loves the foreigners in our midst (see Lev. 19 and Deut. 10). He is pleased and honoured when we make disciples of all nations.
For the sake of international students
Even though many international students come from wealthy families; are mostly independent, technologically savvy and continually connected through social media; they still need us. They need us to be their friends and advocates, especially in this volatile, global political climate. They need to experience our radical hospitality and unconditional love by being part of a family; and see models of Christians at home and in the workplace.
They will always remember a home-cooked meal. They need an intelligent conversation about the world and life in general. They need to hear about Jesus, prayerfully, sensitively and powerfully shared. Here is what one former international student shared:
“For foreigners being shown kindness, it means a lot. But in addition to that we were treated like brothers and sisters and this made us wonder, why are these people so kind.”
That kindness caused this student to hunger for more. Eventually he came to know Jesus and wrote after he returned to his home country,
“You told us the good news and motivated us to begin our lives as Christians. You supported us during the difficult cultural transition period. We now know that what you did was what Jesus did. We will hope to follow your example to reach foreigners in our land.”
For our sake
We need people who are different from us. Our worldviews are in dire need of expansion, and befriending internationals will help us do just that. International student converts from other faiths can impact our churches and teach us more about the cost of following Christ. Their suffering and commitment put us to shame for the petty things we complain about.
Reaching international students is compelling and strategic. We can become involved here and now. Learning another language is not required. You do not even have to move. The world is here my friend. Is your door open?
From a talk given by Lisa Espinelli Chin and published in Perspective March 2018. The full address can be viewed at https://viemeo.com/248373582