“Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God,”
Leviticus 19:33-34 (NLT)
Sharing Christ’s love with just one person can quickly lead to sharing with others. We see this often with our returnee students after they return to their home countries. In fact, we are blessed to hear stories about how God is working in the lives of returnee students and their family members—even in countries hostile to Christianity. One of our ministry friends shared the following testimony:
“Marcie came to the United States to visit her daughter Abby, who had been part of a local Asian congregation for five years. Abby had come to know the Lord and was led by God to attend a Bible college in America, where she received a master’s degree in biblical counseling. Marcie experienced God’s love through her daughter’s friends and heard her daughter say that her job was a result of God’s love for her. This touched Marcie deeply. After Marcie came to America, she attended church activities, studied the Bible seriously, and read Christian newspapers, magazines and books. Marcie wrote about her experience visiting her daughter in the US, saying: ‘My heart was touched, and my view of life and the world were shaken. I realized that I was living a life to honor myself—that I was very self-centered and prideful. I then cried out to God and asked him to live in my heart. I want to walk with the Lord and be with the Lord always.’ That is not the end of the story. Two weeks later, Abby’s father accepted the Lord!”
This story really shows the impact returnee students and their families have on the world around them. Not only was Marcie’s life touched while in the United States visiting her daughter, she was able to return home and minister to her husband! We see this incredible ripple effect all the time with returnees. This particular story happened to feature a returnee parent, which reminds us that our reach often extends beyond that of the students with whom we minister.
I was reminded recently of the incredible impact many of our returnee students have when they return home. As part of our annual ministry conference, held in Singapore a few months ago, we held a special returnee dinner for some of our former students. Nearly 50 students visited us from their home nations! Our speaker, also one of our former students, is now an advisor to key leadership in Singapore. So many of our ministry returnees are currently in strategic positions of influence! The participants were so excited to reunite with those who had discipled and led them to Christ that even after the dinner ended, they lingered several hours, visiting, sharing and praying.
One young returnee from China lit up the room with a beautiful smile and godly spirit. Another from India shared how he was helping reach international students from 39 different countries. In fact, this outreach has been so blessed that despite a hostile turn in Indian politics, he was not only allowed to serve incoming students, but he was even invited to the Governor’s Mansion for an expression of official thanks; he was even given an award for helping welcome foreigners into the country!
The following morning, I glanced around the breakfast table at brothers and sisters from six countries and marveled that International Students, Inc.’s impact is much greater, and broader, than I often realize. Let us continue to reach out and make a difference in the lives of those we encounter. Sharing the Good News plants seeds that one day can blossom into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
For More Information
Read a story about a former ISI student from China in ‘Change Agents Continue Reaching Students in 10/40 Window.’
Learn more about former international students who went on to become influential world leaders.