The “game” is changing for international students, just as it is for all of us. But God is still powerfully at work! Here are a few challenges, praises and prayer points for your encouragement and intercession.
CHALLENGES (adapted from Bridges International survey):
- COVID-19 has radically changed international student ministry approaches
- The number of international students engaged with campus ministries is the lowest in years (e.g., new Chinese students arriving to the US are down from 23,906 last year to 575 this year!)
- Zoom fatigue is a big deal with students
- Students are hungry for social interaction
- Students are concerned for their safety
- Mental health among international students is a real concern
- More students are involved in online/virtual bible studies than possibly ever before!
- Students are open to being contacted by ISI staff and volunteers
- This is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with students who have returned to their home countries, for encouragement and personal discipleship/mentoring
- Pray that new government regulations regarding international students (student VISAS will be limited to 4 years, with extensions allowed only if justified) will not deter students from coming to the US, and especially from “least-reached countries”
- Pray that God’s Spirit would create deep spiritual hunger, a hunger for Truth, in the hearts of students coming to the US
- Pray that social and emotional challenges among students will be catalysts for spiritual searching – leading to hearing and embracing the message of love and life in Christ
- Pray for innovative ideas to reach students (ISI staff are currently networking info per online group games to engage students in virtual community experience – leading to opportunities for “truth discovery”)
From an ISI colleague in Nebraska…
Praise God for Omani Night!
Last Saturday night, we had a fantastic turnout for our Omani Night! About 130 people showed up for this outdoor event. Many of the students we reach out to are from the country of Oman so this was an opportunity to celebrate and honor their culture.
Your prayers and support matter!!