The holidays are an ideal time to minster to your international student friends (and their friends)!
Thanksgiving – Buy a bigger turkey and invite your student friends to bring at least one of their friends with them to your Thanksgiving meal. Go around the table during the meal and have attendees give reasons they are thankful for this year and all the blessings God has given them. Consider reading the current Presidential Proclamation for Thanksgiving (available online; or consider the Abe Lincoln one also online).
Final Exams – Students hardly lift their heads out of the books to breathe, but you can bless them with an Exam Care Package! Consider one for their roommate also! Call first and then drop it off at their apartment. Consider including soup, crackers, fruit, and a few sweet treats. Be sure to include a note that you are praying for their success.
Christmas – Many students travel after exams, but if your student friends do not, this is a fun time to invite them over to your home to see the decorations and enjoy your holiday traditions. Some students might be able to stay in your home for a few days to get some deep sharing time together. Explain the background behind your traditions. If you are making a quick trip to see Mom in another city, consider inviting you student friend to join you on the drive (and let Mom know ahead of time).
New Year – New Year’s Eve and football on New Year’s Day are wonderful times to have student friends join you. Consider board games, party games, and lots of snacks for the Eve, and be prepared to explain the basics of U.S. football on New Year’s Day. Also, if your city has a New Year’s Day Parade, consider going and taking your international friend. Or just watch the ones on television together!
(And remember… the Super Bowl is just a month away!)
Inviting your student friend to bring one of their school friends along helps them feel at ease.
Principles cited in this blog: Holidays are a great time to celebrate together and to enjoy hanging out with friends. Bringing your student friends into your home will make them feel loved and a part of your family.
Application for ISI ministry: Pray ahead, plan ahead, and offer many invitations to maximize the holidays as opportunities for ministry.
Next blog topic: Understanding guilt-shame-fear based cultures
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson