First Contacts, Friendship

Ten Ways to Connect with International Students

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Looking for ways to connect with international students at the start of this academic year?  Then check out this article by Terry Sharp.

Here are 10 great ways to connect/adopt international students as compiled by state convention collegiate ministry leaders Tom Knight, Teresa ‘Bit’ Stephens, Teresa Royall and Chris Mills:

1. Pray for God to open your heart to minister to an international student or scholar.

2. Read a resource like “Foreign to Familiar” or “Cross-Cultural Servanthood” to understand cross-cultural ministry.

3. Seek out an organization or church that is doing international student ministry and ask to volunteer.

4. Partner with someone who has more experience in international ministry and learn from them how to interact with international students and scholars.

5. Spend time with students listening to who they are, to their context and to what matters to them. Developing good listening skills is important for understanding a student’s context, and English conversation is a key avenue to connect with international students and scholars.

6. Find out if a local university or student organization on campus has a host family or a friendship program and volunteer to adopt a student.

7. Ask your small group, Sunday School class or group of friends to pray for you as you befriend your student. You need support. This also creates awareness for ministry to international students and scholars.

8. Learn as much as you can about your student’s culture, religion, language and program of study. The more you know, the more you can minister appropriately to your student.

9. Have fun with your student as you invite him or her into your family to share a meal, attend an event or just hang out. Time in your home and connections over holidays are easy ways to engage international students and scholars.

10. Pray for God to give you wisdom and grace in sharing the Gospel with your student in appropriate ways during the school year and beyond.

A multitude of ministry opportunities awaits you. Just think, you will be building friendships, meeting needs and ministering to the students God has brought to your doorstep. And if God has called you or your church to engage a particular people group, consider that they might not just live in their homeland — they could be a student at your local university.

Don’t let another year pass you by. The time is now to follow through and let God use you and your family to touch an international student’s life.

The above list was taken from Terry Shap’s article which first appeared in Baptist Press.  To read the whole article press here.

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