Why Reach Internationals
One of the great challenges for Christian missions in the 21st Century is how to reach the world’s leaders. This is especially difficult when one considers the large number of countries that are currently closed to missionaries.
God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided an amazing opportunity to reach the future and present leaders of these nations. God has sent hundreds of thousands of international students from many lands to study right here in the U.S. Many of these students come from the most influential families of their countries.
A Compelling Vision
Imagine what an impact these internationals could have on their countries:
- Christian judges could potentially stop persecution.
- Christian businesspersons could pay a livable wage for the desperately poor, lifting many out of abject poverty.
- Christian politicians could fight against injustice and bring social reform.
Most importantly, all could bring the gospel back to their home countries and share the great news of Christ with those who may otherwise never have an opportunity to hear.
For many years the strategic importance of reaching internationals has been recognized. Mark Rentz offered an insight to the readers of Newsweek that is even more true today. “What a great irony it is,” wrote Rentz, ” …that we alienate on our own soil the citizens of nations we journey great lengths to influence…The next wave of world leaders is here. Influence the world; go out and make a foreign friend.” –Newsweek, “Diplomats in Our Backyard,” 2/16/87, p. 10.
Newsweek is not the only publication that has recognized the tremendous potential of internationals studying in our land. Here’s what the Washington Times said about the future impact of Mainland Chinese who study in America. “Never before in human history have so many young talents, coming from one country in ever increasing numbers, studied in another. Can this unprecedented phenomenon pass through history without notable impact? – Washington Times, “China’s Future Molded at U.S. Colleges,” Chong-Pin Lin, 2/17/95, p. A18.
That there will be a notable impact is not the question. But what will that impact be? Will it merely be more secularization of the world with the babble of Western media? Or will it be a greater influence for the life-changing message of our Lord and Savior? We do not know how long this door to the world will stay open. We must act now to reach these students with the love of Christ.