WITH WORLD EVANGELISM as a priority, many Christians in America have gone overseas to minister the gospel. Yet most Christians have been unaware of the potential missions opportunity that is at our own doorstep-the international student. In 1945, there were some 15,000 foreign students attending American colleges and universities. Today there are more than 550,000 enrolled, and up to a million in the US on student visas.

The King of Jordan, Kofi Annan, the President of Georgia, Prime Minister Barak and hundreds of other prime ministers, princes, and foreign dignitaries were educated in the western schools . . . yet these leaders returned from our schools without Christ. Had there been Christians on those campuses to reach out to their foreign visitors and lead them to Jesus Christ, they would have made a tremendous impact on the world and advanced the kingdom of God!

Did you know that Saul of Tarsus, who changed the history of the first century world more than any other individual, was a foreign student? He came from Asia Minor to study theology in Jerusalem, and there he met Jesus Christ! The Ethiopian eunuch was also an international visitor to Jerusalem ... and after his conversation with Philip the evangelist, and subsequent conversion, he went on to become the founder of the church in Africa.

Just think what would happen if the half a million foreign students now in the United States heard the gospel and accepted its truth! Imagine the impact these students could make if they allowed themselves to be trained here in the states as full-time ministers of the gospel, and then returned to their own international countries as dedicated Christian missionaries and world leaders.

These men and women, who were already respected as intelligent leaders before going. abroad, would be welcomed back into their homeland ... and would immediately begin the task of discipling their own nation! They would bring to their governments godly principles and laws ... they would institute godly economics, causing their nations to prosper ... they would begin to exalt God and honor Him on national levels, leading their nations into the kingdom of God.

A Strategic Plan

We have been commanded in the Word of God to reach out to the international man and woman, as Deuteronomy 31:12 tells us. According to Deuteronomy 10: 18,19, "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for them."

It is also interesting to note that the Greek root word philos xenos for "hospitality," (used in the New Testament) means "friend of the foreigner." We are commanded to be hospitable, and that means reaching out in love to the alien within our own borders! 

But why is it strategic to reach out to these foreign students?

  • We can evangelize over 180 nations.
  • These international students can penetrate "closed countries." (Over 30 countries today have closed their doors to western missionaries or restrict religious freedom. Yet students from these nations are attending our schools. Most of these countries are Muslim nations. Just think of the global impact over the next 50 years if we begin to sow seeds of love to Muslims studying in our country today).
  • They are destined to become the leaders in their home nations. Students who come to study in the U.S. are some of the most influential citizens of their homelands.
  • They already know the language and customs of their society-which has proven to be a great barrier to American missionaries.
  • Foreign student evangelism here in the U.S . . . makes a tremendous missionary impact on American churches. It makes missions a reality in a direct way.
  • International men and women returning to their own nations to minister the gospel greatly reduces the financial requirement for world missions. (The average cost to send an American family overseas for one year is around $50,000.)
  • Sending internationals to their own counties frees more American missionaries to go to hidden people groups that have no witness and can only be reached by cross-cultural missions.
  • Those international students who come to Christ and go back to occupy professional positions in their own countries can support full-time workers who are generally in desperate need of funds in most parts of the world.
  • Those who are connected and trained here provide leadership in churches in other lands and thereby gain the respect of non-Christians. This helps to attract and retain the otherwise alienated educated members of society to the churches.
  • Foreign students are accessible and responsive to friendship. (Polls say that foreign students would like to have an American friend more than anything else next to their education.)
  • Foreign students returning to their own nations are not treated with the same suspicion and distrust often given to foreign missionaries.

It is a tremendous task, but our God is well able to bring salvation to these hundreds of thousands of foreign students. It is His desire to raise up these men and women as laborers that He can send into the harvest fields of the nations!

 

A List of International Leaders who Studied in the United States

 

 

From the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs:

Foreign Students Yesterday
World Leaders Today

President of Georgia

Mikhail Saakashvili,
President of Georgia

President of Phillipines

Gloria Arroyo,
President of Phillipines

UN Secretary General

Kofi Annan, UN
Secretary General

Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Kenya

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Kenya

King of Jordan

King Abdullah,
King of Jordan

Millions of prospective students
learn about U.S. study opportunities through
State Department educational advising centers abroad.
TOMORROW'S LEADERS ARE BEING EDUCATED IN THE U.S. TODAY

foreignleaders1.gif

louenglef.jpgBob and Rose Weiner have for the last 30 years been at the forefront of breakthrough ministries for college students around the world. Their gift of faith for mobilization has effected Christianity worldwide. I love their fire and once again, a breaker anointing is moving with them for a fresh wave of campus awakening. It would be a fearful thing if they weren’t on our side.”

--Lou Engle - President of The Call



 
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