Aug - Welcome to America

August 2008

“Welcome to America!”

Have you ever looked around while on campus, at Wal-Mart, or even in the mall, and realized that not everyone looked like you, acted like you, or even spoke the same language as you? We live in an exciting day and age when globalization affects every aspect of our lives.  From the food we eat and the places visit to the access we have through the internet, globalization has affected the way the world does business and the way we live our lives. America in particular has attracted the world into her borders, and we can find someone from another country in almost every city in the US.

When I first learned about the number of Internationals Students in the US and the countries they were from, I also wanted to learn more about what the Bible said about internationals.  He gives multiple commands to the Israelites in the Old Testament concerning the foreigner among them and how they were to welcome them, treating them as one of their own, because they themselves had been foreigners in Egypt.  In the Gospels, it is hard to miss the example of Jesus’ ministry to the internationals around Him.  My eyes were opened to the amazing opportunity to not only welcome internationals around me during their stay here in the US, but to befriend them and begin some great life-long relationships.

As my knowledge of Internationals Students in our country grew, so did my heart to welcome them and share the gospel with them.  Most internationals who study in the US are from places in the world where they have little to no access to the gospel.  In fact, out of the top ten countries represented by Internationals studying here, eight of them are 10/40 Window countries (http://www.thetravelingteam.org/?q=node/130).   Statistics show that 80% of these students will never even set foot into an American home. If internationals are studying in the US, they may be people of great influence when they go back home.  They may go back to lead in their field of study at a university, or maybe even lead as the President or Prime Minister of the country. If we have welcomed them and shared the gospel with them, only God knows the fruit it may produce when they go back to countries other Christians might not be able to set foot in because of government restrictions or other reasons.

Meeting International Students is easier than you might think, too. Keep your eyes open while on campus because the more you are aware of the fact they are here, the more likely you are to notice them.  You can visit the student union or the library, contact the International Student Office on campus, or look on your school’s website for International Student Organizations.  Here are some other suggestions of ways you can serve an International Student:

•    Help them practice their English
•    Proof read a term paper for them
•    Give them a ride to Wal-Mart, a coffee shop, or to class on a rainy day
•    Learn how to say hello in a few different languages
•    Be intentional to ask great questions about the people you are meeting
•    Find out how to pronounce their given name correctly
•    After you have found out how long they have been here, actually say “Welcome to America!”
•    Find out where they live on campus and visit them
•    Room with a student who would like an American roommate

These are all great opportunities to learn about different cultures, countries, people, languages, customs, holidays and celebrations.  Welcome someone from another country and befriend them while they are far from home, and most importantly, share the life giving message of Christ and the cross with them!

 

 

By Abbey