Close to 700,000 international students come to the U.S. each year, but they come for a lot more than just to study. They come to learn English, and they come to learn about American culture. They are away from home and away from friends; they are away from the comfortable and familiar. In short, they are living in a very unique time in their lives, and many of them are unusually open to new friends and to spiritual things. We don’t need to travel across the world to reach the unreached with the Gospel; the world is coming to us! Here are some simple steps to welcome international students:
Pray Invite the Lord to use you to love international students and to share His love with them.
Invest Invest in relationships with international students. Look for opportunities to get to know them. Find out where they hang out. Go to the international student club meetings/gatherings. Find ways to welcome them to your country and into your life. Offer to take them places of interest. Show them around town. Tutor them in English. Help them with their classwork. Look for opportunities to love and serve them.
Ask Ask spiritual questions. As you invest in a friendship, this will be natural.
Here are a few other ideas: 1) Start a regular Bible study for international students. You'd be amazed how open they are to studying the Bible (and learning English at the same time!) 2) Have them over to make dinner together (have them teach you how to make authentic food from their home countries). 3) Have a movie night during which you watch together the Jesus Film in their own language.