Praying through the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet during Ramadan was a rich and focused time of prayer for me, but it also provoked me to think deeply about relationships with the international student population at K-State.
While this prayer guide was specific to Muslim people around the world, I was challenged to think about the many people from various countries, backgrounds, religions and cultures that come to Manhattan, Kansas to pursue knowledge and higher education. They come for a limited time and the majority will return to their native land to resume the same lifestyle, customs and practices as before they came to the United States. I was reminded that we have a unique window of time and opportunity in which to be faithful ambassadors for Christ to our transient international student population.
This 30 day experience of focused prayer has given me a sense of urgency to engage with international students and be intentional in forming genuine friendships with the overarching goal being to share the wonderful Gospel of Jesus in word and life. Forming friendships alone, without ever communicating the love and hope of Jesus Christ, is not really loving them well. It just provides a fleeting opportunity for a positive American experience.
Based on my ponderings, God has placed these 6 goals on my heart and mind as I engage with international students and families at K-State during the coming year:
- See international students through the eyes of Christ. Remind myself often that they are created in the image of God with eternal souls and value.
- Pray boldly and specifically for opportunities to proclaim the Glory of Christ and our need of a savior. We have a wonderful and life changing message to share!
- Redeem the Time. Quickly develop friendships and engage in genuine conversations while being intentional about finding opportunities to speak freely of my faith in Jesus. Seek opportunities to share the sweet (and sometimes hard) Gospel truths.
- Reflect the Heart of Christ. Show genuine love and compassion.
- Be open to how and when the Spirit leads. Don’t make assumptions based on human knowledge or expectations. Trust God for opportunities and be strong and courageous when they present themselves.
- Be prepared for divine interruptions!
- Be obedient yet content with the role God has for me in the life of my international friend. Trust God for the harvest of the soul of my friend.