“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord,” Leviticus 19:18 (NLT).
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 (NLT).
Each year, our TRUE Leadership Conferences offer a unique experience and time of growth for international students in some of the most breathtaking areas of the United States. Not only do students participate in adventurous activities that include zip-lining, swimming and hiking, but they also get to spend time with ministry leaders who share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them!
Our recent 2016 Conference in North Carolina this spring brought together 70 students from 26 countries for four incredible days! They overcame challenges like a “disturbance” by an individual who drove hours to try and disrupt the conference, yet failed miserably. Thank you, Lord, for protecting our students and staff during this incredible conference! And though the forecast of “100% chance of rain” could have ruined much of the conference, it didn’t—in fact, not even one drop of rain occurred during our outdoor sessions! What a blessing this was for attendees!
I would be remiss if I did not share with you an aspect of the conference that brings me great joy: I am thrilled when the Christian international students, who gave their lives to Christ at a past TRUE Leadership Conference, return to share and give back to conference attendees. Conference participants mentioned being “blown away” by how our staff “respected” them even though many were not Christians. Many gave their lives to Him.
Friend, we continue receiving testimonies that underscore the power of our mission to reach every international student for Christ. With your prayers, support and encouragement, you help us birth testimonies like this one:
“Born and raised in a Hindu society, I worshipped many gods as part of my traditional religion. I used to be moody and bitter, thinking the gods were punishing me because of some wrongdoing. I noticed my anger when I first came to the US; my graduate group did not treat me well, and I responded in anger and bitterness. I did not want to take any responsibility for the problems; I argued and picked fights relentlessly. Fortunately, God surrounded me with Christians, and He used them to lovingly lead me towards Him.
After joining a Bible study group on campus, I realized that I had a Jesus-size hole in my life and asked Him into my heart as Lord and Savior. Desiring to know more about my God, I began to read the Bible on my own. Ever since, my heart has become lighter since I no longer carry the burden of guilt within me. God continues to work in me to show me humility and forgiveness. Others have confirmed the changes in my personality, as well. I am more self-confident because I know that God will guide me and give me the strength I need. I no longer feel anger or bitterness towards those who hurt me because God has shown me how to humbly forgive others, just as He has forgiven me. I wholeheartedly want to follow God’s Word, do what pleases Him, and bring glory to His name. Words cannot describe how happy I am to share everything with the God who knows me completely and is working to make me a new creature.”
For those of us who have invited Jesus to dwell in the rooms of our heart, we understand how His perfect love can ease even the sharpest edges of one’s bitterness and anger. Yes, Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins because of His unconditional love for us. This student’s powerful testimony shows how our belief in Him really does make us a new creation. I love how this student let God show him how “to humbly forgive others, just as He has forgiven me.”
I am reminded of God’s commandment to Moses to “...not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord,” Leviticus 19:18 (NLT).
We continue receiving stories like this showing how God is literally changing the hearts and minds of international students. Last year, in fact, our ministry continued reaching one international student per hour every day. What a blessing to live out and share God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” These new believers then go out and continue the ripple affect of this commandment—we see it time and again!
Friend, I want you to know that we cherish your prayers for our staff, volunteers and students as they navigate environments that can be hostile to Christianity. Please continue to pray for hearts and minds open to God’s Word—that the Great Commission continues traveling through ministry staff, volunteers and returnees to every corner of the Earth!
For More Information
Learn more about Hinduism and how to talk to Hindus about the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Learn more about the TRUE Leadership Conference by reading Dr. Shaw’s blog “TRUE Leadership Inspires, Encourages International Student.”
Watch this video to learn more about the TRUE Leadership Conference.