“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions,” 1 John 3:17-18 (NLT).
Showing compassion to our international students can mirror the love of Christ in so many ways. In fact, sometimes it is our reaching out that brings them to Christ! Our countless ministry volunteers and staff members often go above and beyond to meet the needs of students. Sometimes those needs are physical, as in money, food and furniture, etc. Other times those needs might involve sharing time, a listening ear or comfortable place to talk and ask questions. Sometimes, the needs are purely emotional and spiritual.
Many international students who come to the United States to complete their studies find themselves in challenging situations. It can be especially difficult to fit into a new culture, to speak a different language and adapt to a society different from the one at home. One of our ministry friends shared a story about a young Middle Eastern couple who moved to their town in a rural area of the United States. The husband-and-wife-team encountered struggles with finances, visas, jobs and academics. Our ministry friend writes,
“The wife desired her husband to be a religious man, and yet they did not have a true faith in Islam, though their home country’s citizenship required them to be Muslim. They were surprised to find that since coming here, Christians surrounded them during these hard months and blessed them with financial gifts, warm meals and hospitality. These showers of blessings and love caused the couple to ask questions about Christianity. And soon they also desired to have a personal relationship with Christ. Both of them eventually accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior! The currency in their home country is still unstable, so financially they are still struggling—yet they have learned to trust God to provide. They saw God answer a prayer for the wife to pass a crucial exam and find a good job on campus. They are hungry to grow in their knowledge of Scripture and will be starting a Bible study with friendship partners. We were so blessed to have this couple in our lives and to witness God’s salvation, provision, and faithfulness in these young believers.”
This testimony is a good reminder of how we, as believers, can show the truth by our actions. Being sensitive to our friends’ needs opens doors to their hearts and minds. It’s what Jesus did.
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions,”
1 John 3:17-18 (NLT).
For More Information
Do you want to make a difference in the life of an international student? Becoming an ISI Friendship Partner will be a blessing for both the student and for you! Friendship Partners, by their interaction with international students, receive cultural experiences which enrich their lives. Many become lifelong friends with their international students. Learn more here.