Imagine yourself arriving in Nepal to study at Kathmandu University. You are alone without friends or family.
Then you learn about a campus outreach specifically for international students such as yourself. They greet you with a warm smile and gentleness as they provide you with a basketful of apartment supplies you would be spending money from your very tight budget to purchase. They offer to take you to a store for food supplies. They even go out of their way to take you to a specialty market where you can buy accommodations similar to what you are used to—a taste of “home.” You are invited to participate in local activities with some who are becoming fast friends. They take time to explain the culture and their life to you. You are invited to their home where they provide a meal and have great conversation. They ask about your family, friends, food, festivals, faith, and future. You are just as interested in their life. They share their personal story. Over time and consistency in your friendship, something grabs your attention as you hear about the importance of a personal relationship with God through His son, Jesus. For the first time in your life, you begin to realize knowing God personally is a possibility.
The scene above is a great picture of what is happening all around Arkansas from Jonesboro to Magnolia and Fayetteville to Monticello. Five thousand international students find themselves in Arkansas. We know this is God’s gift to us to be a part of His story in their lives so we may live out and tell of His love for them.
Over 1000 new students this year were immediately connected with the local Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), International Student Ministry (ISM) workers and ABSC churches. These connections happen through airport welcomes, passing out welcome (laundry) baskets, free furniture, conversation clubs (English corners), friendship partners, and community hang out times, as well as a variety of other ways.
Our greatest goal and connection with internationals is one-on-one or small group Discovery Bible Studies. We do this to help send them around the world as Christ followers equipped for ministry. Over 400 are attending BCM weekly worship events and many are being engaged with the Gospel through Discovery Bible Studies and regular Gospel conversations with ISM workers. At least six internationals have received Christ this year, with many so very close to salvation.
God has given us a sweet opportunity to invest in the lives of many who have never understood the love of God for them.
Now, imagine you arrive in Kathmandu for the first time—instead of being lonely, you are greeted by an ISM worker who becomes your good friend. Are you willing to be a good friend to an international student?
Here are ways we can assist you and your church in building a bridge of friendship for the sake of the Gospel with international students.
- Our College + Young Leaders Team is available to coordinate basic training and equipping in person for you and/or your church to carry out international student ministry effectively. You may find helpful material and encouraging stories at www.argo2.org/ism There is a video vault you may ask permission to access on the website as well.
- We can connect you to your local BCM Campus Minister to inquire of ways you may initially be involved in international student ministry locally.
- We can help cast vision to your local church to reach international students.
- We will pray for you as you seek God’s direction.
Bit Stephens, CYL Team ISM Consultant for the ABSC, firstname.lastname@example.org 501-472-4861