What if you were able to witness an international student open a Bible for the first time?
“There, too, the people were amazed at the things he said, because he spoke with authority.” —Luke 4:32 (NLT)
We here at International Students, Inc. are very blessed to have more than 24,000 volunteers who generously give of themselves and their time in the name of Jesus. We so appreciate these people, who consistently go above and beyond to reach out to international students from all over the world. In fact, we would not be able to do the work we do without their help! To honor these amazing volunteers, I will be sharing with you a series of blogs that highlight some of their stories.
This first story features Kelli, who lives with her husband and children in Columbus, Missouri. Kelli shared with us about her experience volunteering with ISI. I hope this story blesses you as much as it blesses us:
For most of the international students visiting this particular Bible study, it’s the first time they have ever opened a Bible. Kelli, who hosts these Sunday night studies at the International Community Church in Columbus says, seeing this happen time and again is “always exciting.”
“Just the thrill of getting to introduce people to Jesus for the first time,” she shared, “keeps my faith so fresh.”
Kelli goes on to say, “In our city there are a lot of visiting scholars. They have reached a lot of success in their careers, but they realize it’s empty, it’s not enough. They know that having your house, having your children, and having your job is not filling you up. It’s not giving you that day-to-day peace. So they are seeking.”
The people in her Sunday night Bible study are from China, and her son babysits their children during the study.
Kelli confirmed she learns a lot from them.
“Your views are enlarged,” she said. “You get to know people and hear their concerns. You find out that we’re all the same all over the world. We all struggle with our marriages. We all struggle as parents and wonder, ‘Are we doing okay? You also see how we’re each so unique—the cultures, the patterns and the habits of different continents.’”
One of the student scholars in Kelli’s Bible study recently displayed such sincere shock and amazement as the group was reading Jesus’ miracles.
Kelli adds, “In the Parables, you read the stories at the end and it says: ‘And the people were amazed.’ And to sit there with someone who was amazed—her seeing Jesus for the first time—is really thrilling.”
Kelli encourages those who are thinking about volunteering with International Students, Inc. to move forward and do it!
“It’s a great opportunity to get to be a missionary in America,” she said. “One of the biggest things they say is that they see the peace in us—even just coming to church. And they feel peace in themselves.”
Her volunteering with ISI allows her to spread the truth of the Gospel. It gives international students and scholars the opportunity to “know Jesus, to have eternal life and to live with Him forever,” she said.
Seventy-five percent of international students studying in the US will never step inside of an American home. Reaching out to these students and scholars through ISI, though, helps increase the number who do step inside our homes, she explained.
“It doesn’t have to be a production,” she stated. “You can order a chicken from the grocery store and serve that. If you are a Christian family and you have the presence of Christ in your home, they walk in and they feel it. They know it—it’s just different. So that’s such a testimony to them.”
“For them to be able to just walk in your home,” she said, “is such a blessing.”
Here at ISI, we don’t pressure or try to “convert” anyone. We simply allow the Holy Spirit to work as we share our lives, homes and friendship with international students. When students respond to unconditional love and hospitality, they may choose to hear more about the Truth and ask to learn more about Jesus. We then gladly and graciously invite them to church, a Bible study or offer mentorship as they explore more about the Lord.
Praise God for the way He’s working through our ministry!
For information on how to volunteer with ISI!