“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high,” Psalm 3:3 (NLT).
It surprised me just as much as it surprised others in our office when we learned of a discovery made by one of our staffers. She noticed an amazing connection among three facts, none of which would be significant on its own. Yet, together these three disparate statistics added up to a stunning revelation with far-reaching spiritual consequences.
- Fact One––The nations sending out the most international students. By itself, the list is fairly predictable: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and others. Predictable, that is, until you pair it with Fact Two.
- Fact Two––55% of the top ten countries sending out the most international students are also on the list of nations expelling and barring foreign missionaries. And amazingly, when you triangulate both with Fact Three, the information gets even more interesting.
- Fact Three––Not only are these nations keeping missionaries out, but half of them are also on the Open Doors watch list of countries persecuting Christians inside their borders. What does it mean? For us at ISI, the conclusion is startling.
God is using international student ministry to target the Gospel’s most determined foes!
Here’s a story that shows just how our ministry is impacting students from these countries. One of our ministry friends sent in the following, he writes:
“Steve met Jason during a monthly International Students, Inc. supper. At one point, each person was asked to share what was most important at the moment. Steve said he desired to live for God. This caught Jason’s attention. He emailed Steve later: ‘I was born and grown as a Christian, but my mind doesn’t accept the fact that my life is given by God for the Glory of God. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior, but I do not recognize Him in my life. I hope my faith will grow here during my stay.’ After that, Steve and Jason met at least twice a month. Jason rediscovered Christ and Scripture, and shared those lessons in daily phone conversations with his wife, who was in Asia. Knowing he would return home soon, Jason planned another big step: he wanted to leave the security of a corporate position for the insecurity of self-employment so he could mentor others. Jason continues to inspire Steve with his thoughtfulness and excitement in living a God-centered life.”
As we move forward with our efforts to continue reaching students from countries on the Open Doors watch list, would you pray for God’s Word to move mountains in their lives? Would you pray for His Word to be a shield around our staff and volunteers as they minister to these students?
I am reminded of the Psalmist who said, “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high,” Psalm 3:3 (NLT). It is my hope and prayer that the glory of the Lord will continue holding our heads high as we reach out to students from nations often hostile to Christianity.
Friend, thank you for your prayers and ongoing support as we speak the truth of the Gospel into the lives of international students! I look forward to sharing more exciting updates with you through the summer months!
For More Information
Read testimonies from students impacted by our ministry.
Learn how to become a prayer partner for ISI.