“I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:23 (NLT)
Friend, I want to reiterate the multitude of blessings God has bestowed upon on this summer. In July, we attended the most powerful conference in the history of International Students, Inc.!
Set against the seaside of Goa, India—with the calming ebb and flow of waves reflecting a nearly perfect blue sky—we enjoyed the speeches of high-ranking leaders in academia, investment banking, high finance, and evangelism. Not long after the conference, some of our staffers launched our M:28 Global Discipleship model by holding training sessions across China, India and Japan.
What an incredible blessing to know that the Good News continues to set hearts afire in these nations. We are hopeful that M:28 will continue growing in these countries, where the hope of Jesus Christ continues to save lives.
Although we are optimistic, I would be remiss if I did not share with you some very real concerns. I want to share these situations with you, friend, so that you may pray over them--that God’s divine provision and love infiltrates the hearts and minds of those who do not know Him.
Though our recent trip was fruitful in many ways, we were saddened to witness a worsening international climate. While we grieve over social, moral and political changes here at home, the situation overseas has taken a serious turn in several nations:
In China, the government continues to heavily “monitor” Christian activity. Our M:28 seminar leaders in China learned from government sources that of the 300,000 returning international students from China every year, 30,000 are Christians! Authorities are now trying to learn whether returning students pose any kind of security threat. We trust they’ll soon realize that baby Christians are not a risk, but an asset to their home countries.
India is now “monitoring” non-governmental organizations, even trying to shut some down––especially those who receive foreign funding. That means increased pressure on new believers and Christians. Hindu converts who are baptized into the faith are being interviewed to find out whether they were coerced. This is a concerning trend.
Despite these changing scenarios in these countries, and others around the world, we rest confident in Christ’s promise that the Gates of Hell will not prevail. High-impact summers like this one show us that His promise is still harder at work than ever. It also serves as a reminder of our relevance!
I’ve thought about a study showing that 40% of international students report having no close relationships with Americans, and wish for deeper connections. What is International Students, Inc., doing to build relationships? The letter, below, is just one example of the several ways we continue building relationships. I hope this testimony from Natalie serves as an encouragement for you:
When Natalie, a Muslim, was given a New Testament, she reported that “it was nothing I read before. You know in Koran, when you read, there is about 99 names of God’s description but you never read that God is love. So when I read that in the New Testament, I couldn’t stop crying. I’d never experienced God’s love before even though I always prayed to Muslim god.” After she became a Christian, she shared, “I start sharing with my friends because they see so much difference in me, they became Christian because they were so hungry, they never heard message like that. They never heard God of love, or God who can be our friend and loving father… There is so much hunger going on among Muslim people, even though they don’t show it. But when you really, sincerely talk about God’s love, they’re really touched.”
This report represents hundreds more who’ve experienced the same thing through International Students, Inc.––due to the dedication of our staffers, and because of your prayers and support. Thank you all!
Though we live in trying times, know that we are making a difference; our ministry is utterly relevant––even to those who may not yet know or love Christ. This world is making it nearly impossible for overseas missions to send missionaries across the border in the traditional fashion. But for international students discipled during their education, it’s a world wide-open for outreach. That spells total relevance for ISI.
I encourage you to pray for the light to shine on the worsening international climate. Remember to keep on asking, for then you will, “…receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you”
—Matthew 7:7 (NLT)
For More Information:
Learn more about becoming a prayer intercessor for ISI!
To learn more details about ISI’s trip to Goa, India this summer, please visit Dr. Shaw’s blog, “ISI ‘High Impact Summer’ Surpasses Expectations!”