Summer 2008 Rapport: From the Leadership Files
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Reaching international students
by Kristina Lwali (M.A. 2003) and her husband, Sevo, are Chi Alpha missionaries to international students at Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo.
God is creatively strategic in accomplishing his mission to draw all nations to himself. Not only does he send laborers to reach the lost, but he brings the lost to the laborers! International students are an amazing mission field. They are the best and brightest of their nations and are in the United States during a window in their lives when they are more open to the gospel than they might ever be again. Here are ways you and your congregation can reach out to these students with the love of Christ:
- If your area has a university with a Chi Alpha group, contact the director. Local churches should work through the campus gatekeepers and join with them in their efforts to minister to students. The Chi Alpha director can give you ideas about how you can help.
- If you do not have a local Chi Alpha chapter, contact the International Student Office and offer to serve them. They often need help picking up students from the airport, taking them to the store, helping them find apartments, etc. These service opportunities open the door to build relationships with internationals.
- Look for various activities online that international student organizations may be hosting. For instance, the Chinese students may be hosting a Chinese New Year banquet, which is open to the community. Attend those activities and use them as opportunities to develop relationships.
- If the university has friendship or host-family programs, present the opportunity to your congregation. International students are often lonely for their families and would love to spend time with an American family. If no such program exists, consider starting one. Contact the National Chi Alpha office for more resources.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s all about relationships! International Student Friendship Ministries Director Jerry Gibson says, “Sitting in congregations across this nation are people with the gifts of hospitality and service who could be the next friend for an international student.” Would you consider partnering with God and befriending the nations he is bringing to our doorstep?
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Friday, August 8, 2008 1:24 PM