A Challenge for Professionals To Mentor International Students
As International Student Ministries continue to proclaim, “The nations are here,” creative methods of engaging them through friendships develop. Traditionally, we have engaged through friendship partners, church family “adoptions,” conversation partners, conversational English groups, intramurals, class study partners, holiday hosting, cultural events, and a variety of other ways.
There may be a gold mine of Kingdom-minded professionals in your church or ministry.
In your church, you may have some professionals working in the field that match what the international students at your local university are studying. God may be developing His heart for the nations in them. These may be God-ordained friendships waiting to happen. These professionals might be businessmen and women, people working in the fields of information technology and computer science, biological researchers, medical doctors, clinical lab science professionals, and even international law experts, to list of a few. Can you imagine what it would mean to these dear students to have time with an American professional in their field of study? These internationals are some of the brightest students in the entire world studying in our country and local state university. We do not know how long we will have them here, so we have got to reach out to them in innovative ways.
God only knows what the potential is of these relationships.
Not only will the mentor share about their experiences and daily routine, but how their faith may impact their professional decisions. Just imagine the impact of these friends sharing about their personal business practices because of their relationship with Jesus.
Ideas for conversation topics in mentoring
- Reason for choosing this profession
- Why and how they try to practice integrity in all business dealings
- Concern and care for the community and church
- The importance of Christian values in their family life
In addition to the significance of these conversations, as the relationship strengthens, the international student will observe the authenticity of their mentor’s relationship to Christ in their profession and life outside of work.
The long-term potential impact and possible partnership is tremendous.
To continue to dream big, another possibility of impact of this relationship is a missions partnership to the nations. Upon graduation and the international’s return to his or her home country, he or she may have dreams to make a difference embedded in their hearts. Many internationals are longing to focus their efforts on socioeconomic improvements. This can happen by creating small businesses or providing resources such as clean water, improved living environments, and increased job opportunities. Combining these efforts and a new-found relationship with Jesus Christ is a wonderful setup for a missional partnership with the U.S. professional and their church to help strengthen the work and bridge the Gospel in the home country of their international friend.
Teresa Bit Stephens ABSC – CYL International Student Ministry Consultant