The United States is seeing record numbers of international students attending colleges and universities. According to the Open Doors report for 2016, one in 3 international students in the United States studies in California, New York or Texas.* More than 62,000 internationals attended college in the state of Texas last year. The world has literally come to our doorstep.
They come for the opportunity and the experience. Many students come to experience the American life, but most of them will never enter an American home. Even if their campus is in a larger city, it can be an insulated environment. It is easy for a student to come to campus and leave not knowing anyone outside of campus life.
Even more compelling is the fact that a number of these students will come from countries with little or no access to the gospel. Their coming to the U.S. opens a door for them to hear the Good News for the first time. There are many stories of students who come and accept Christ, then take the message back home to their families and friends when they return.
International ministry doesn't have to be complicated. An invitation to a meal. Conversation partnerships that help students with their English skills. Providing rides to the grocery for the many students who don't have access to a vehicle. All of these gestures can begin a relationship that leads to sharing Jesus. Do you know who the international students are in your community? What could your church do to impact the life of one of these students?
We want to help you think strategically about reaching the international students in your community, so the next few newsletters will focus on this unique ministry opportunity. If you're interested in planning a strategy for your church, contact Ginger Bowman at ginger.bowman[at]texasbaptists.org.
*Population statistics from the Institute of International Education Open Doors and the2017 Texas Public Higher Education Almanac, THECB,
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