Welcoming is one of the most strategic avenues for personal involvement in missions.
- The Old Testament is full of commands for Israel to love the foreigners in their midst and treat them with kindness and justice. Such treatment is commended as a way that God’s glory will be extended to the nations. (Lev. 23.22; Deut. 27.19; Ex. 22.21; Ex. 23.9; 2 Chr. 6.32-33; I Kings 8.41-43; et. al.)
- Refugees, international students and immigrants frequently come from countries where it is difficult to acquire a visa for entry and stay long-term. This makes a consistent witness difficult.
- These guests in our midst often return home to visit relatives, or re-assume residence. If they return home with a faith in Christ, new churches may begin in their countries of origin.
- Ministry to internationals does not require completely learning a new language. Our guests already speak sufficient conversational English, or are eager to learn English in order to thrive in the US.
- Substantial numbers of internationals are accessible in the United States, many from nations difficult to access by many westerners. The US is host to 262,000 refugees, with most refugees coming from such “closed” nations as Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. More than 700,000 international students study in the US currently, with most coming from China and Saudi Arabia.
- Many international students in the US have been sent by their nations because they are anticipated to assume influential positions in government and business when they return. By welcoming, we are influencing future national influencers. See such a list of government leaders here.