I penned these words in a coffee shop last Friday afternoon. A letter to be sent to our dear partners in ministry who faithfully support us both in prayer and financially. They were difficult words to write in that they made every part of my being ache for the gospel to be known and proclaimed, not just in my city, but everywhere. So I've brought them over here for you too. It's a special glimpse I don't often share in this space; a glimpse into our ministry and our heart for reaching others with the love of Christ.
Like a fish swimming in water, many Americans tend to take their own culture for granted. But for many international students on campuses across the U.S., life in the states is very different from their previous experiences. Everyday tasks like grocery shopping, transportation, and english, that come second nature to you and I, can be monumental hurdles for international students. Taking it one step deeper, many of these students represent countries that are relatively difficult to reach with the gospel—Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Iran, and China. And in some circumstances, these students represent some of the earth’s 250 Least-Reached with the message of Christ people groups. As the Joshua Project estimates, nearly one third (2.2 billion individuals) of the earth’s population reside in only 250 Least-Reached people groups.
Guy and I have felt led to welcome, love, and reach international students on campuses in the Milwaukee Metro. We enter into this ministry humbly, aware that we carry a majority culture perspective, but nonetheless enter with a desire to grow in our love for people, for cultures, and for God Himself.
Beginning to minister to international students will look significantly different than our past ministry experiences. Our ministry to international students is referred to as “Bridges”; a ministry seeking to help international students through service activities, social networking, and spiritual resources. So, as nations send us their best and brightest students, their potential leaders, we have the opportunity to love them with the love of Christ.
We read Revelation 7:9 and see God pointing us to a gathering of people from all cultures; “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and languages.” The whole body of Christ is represented in Revelation 7:9. And we need the whole body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), every church or ministry, every ethnic group, and every people group of the world to be involved in the mission. As our ministry leader has shepherded us, "We want to reach people from every culture, to reach the world through people of every culture."
These words have been edited in some places for privacy, but speak deeply to my heart not just in ministry but in every aspect of my life. I've found some resources especially impactful in my ministry and personal life that I've shared below:
- Joshua Project - A research initiative seeking to highlight the ethnic people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Christ.
- The Go Times - Musings about culture, ethnicity, and the gospel.
- Operation World - A definitive prayer guide to every nation.
- The Influence Network - A community of women asking "Which parts of the internet can I use to give you more glory, God?"
- SheReadsTruth - Women in the Word being changed by the Word.
- And first and foremost, daily being in the Word