This is the second part of a blog series on how to welcome international students. If you missed the first one, click below to read the first part.
In the last blog, I wrote about the importance of reaching International students and what could be possible if we reach them. In this blog, I’m sharing some top stories and practical tips on how to welcome International students. Go through each idea and see which one works best for you and your church.
- Be a Walking Prayer: can you prayer-walk near campus as part of your preparation for September and chat to international students? Can you approach them and simply offer them prayer? Can you pray for them to feel settled in the new city and feel at home?
- Be a Host Family: International students just like other students have left their homes and families and for most of them, they have moved into a totally new culture with a new language. Everything is so new to them, even the look of the people they meet in everyday life outside. I once heard from a church leader that through their ministry to international students they help give them a sense of home, family, belonging and show them who Jesus is through service and hospitality. One time, an Indian student said, "this is the first time she's seen a human being since she's come here." They have seen and continue to see God move in and through them not only locally but also globally.
- Be a Hope-Bringer to the Nations: Some of these students often are here to study for a few months, or come early to settle in and feel more at home. Another couple who lead a ministry in Swansea for international students once said that locally they have a student from Japan who's been here for a while and he comes from a background in which he lacked a sense of belonging back home but he feels belonged here at church. They once went for a walk and talked about Jesus, Molly shared her story of how Jesus has changed her life once and for all. Then this japanese student started sharing that even though he had everything he still felt empty but now he feels he has found purpose through Jesus. He is now a PHD student and soon will go back home but as a disciple of Jesus.
One of the important things to do in reaching International students is to STAY IN TOUCH with them even when they move back home, to PRAY for them regularly and to CELEBRATE them well for their successes/ birthdays/ Graduations. Families never forget about their family members, do they?
Soon you can start to see that you are not only reaching the local students but also through them reaching their families globally. That’s what I call a glo-cal ministry - where you look to build the kingdom of God on earth and make disciples of all nations.
A simple welcome from you could change the life of an International student forever.
My challenge for you is:
Will you be willing to do something different and be a home and family to an international student this summer? Can someone in your church be up for hosting them meals? Find out more here.
Will you pray for them?