We have an opportunity to share the love of Christ with international students by inviting them to be a part of our daily lives. Kathleen Snow Macosko and her husband Chris are actively involved in housing refugees and connecting with international students at the University of Minnesota. Kathleen offers helpful advice on how to open up the door for spiritual conversations to take place.
“I think our own stories really are helpful. They can’t argue with that, especially if we were not brought up in a Christian home or family. My husband is a professor and a scientist, and they’re always shocked that a scientist can be a Christian, so they’re all ears when he tells his story.”
“Another good way is food. You can’t can argue with food, especially if you include rice or some of their foods. I was surprised to learn that Chinese students really prefer Chinese food over American food.”
International students are a part of the family of God and we are called to love them as we love ourselves. In some cases, students may be experiencing the love of Christ for the very first time. Kathleen shares the testimony of a Muslim refugee,
“When we had Muslim refugees from Ethiopia living with us, we would garden together because they enjoyed gardening. I remember one said to me, ‘I see the difference between you Christians, you Americans, and us; you love and you forgive.’”
Barbara Fadirepo reminds Christians to pay attention to our words and actions on a daily basis, especially as we witness to international students.
“Whatever you do, you are Christians and your everyday life is the greatest testimony to them. Which is another reason why it’s good to home hosts, because they’re in your home and then in your home for the weekend.”
“Many of them come and they think we go to church because it’s a cultural thing, and even many think that America is a Christian nation. But through your relationship; you’re talking with them, taking them to church etc., they look at how you relate to your family.”
By inviting international students into our lives, they will be able to experience the love of Christ and see how it has made a difference in the way we live, and the way we treat other people.
Kathleen Snow Macosko was called to pastor Stadium Village Church, across from the University of Minnesota. She is a volunteer in the International Student Ministry, ConneXions International, near Stadium Village Church.
Barbara Fadirepo began her international life after marrying Niran, an international student from Nigeria in 1973. She is Outreach Director and teaches ESL classes at ConneXions International and serves in ministry partnership with Stadium Village Church and African Christian Fellowship in the Twin Cities.International Student Ministry