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Diaspora Missions Who Is Sitting Behind You

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Invite an international student to share a meal with your family.

The world is at our doorstep, but in some cases the world’s future leadership may be sitting near you in church! As we greeted people around us during a recent Sunday service, we met two international students sitting behind us. They had taken the bus on their own. It was their first time to be in a church.

There were about one million foreign students enrolled at U.S. campuses in 2015, with China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia as the top sending nations. There is also an increasing number of international high school students.

God has sovereignly opened an unprecedented opportunity for the local church and campus ministries to welcome and befriend students from other nations.

A small church in South Carolina had their first experience of welcoming a group of international students from 11 countries last month. The students had their first taste of southern hospitality that included great food, an afternoon of fishing, kayaking, and visiting farms, and learning to “shag,” the official state dance.

They were hosted in American homes (a rare experience for many international students) and attended the Sunday worship service. At the end of their weekend stay, some had already arranged with their hosts to connect over Thanksgiving! Beyond that, five students asked for Bibles.

A note from a member of the church reads, “We are still smiling as we think back over the wonderful time we had with the international students.” Who knows what God will do in the coming days?

Christian students on campus have a natural opportunity to meet and welcome international students. They sit in their classes, live in their dorms, eat in their dining halls, and study in the same library. Often, international students ...

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