Internationals Among Us
Editor's note: Internationals come in very diverse categories, as you will see in this article, fleshed out in Neal's book Internationals Who Live Among Us: Doing World Missions at Home. Most of these represent very accessible mission fields for the gospel.
More people travel internationally today than ever before. Political, economic, educational, social and religious factors have led to unprecedented movements of people. Most of us can expect to be exposed to new comers in increasing ways. I want to invite you to open your eyes to seven specific types of internationals living among us.
International Students: At any given time, over one million international students from 181 countries study in the United States. Within a decade, most will be in positions of leadership in their home country. Your involvement can be as simple inviting them to a meal in your home or as involved as having one living with you for a semester.
Refugees: Fleeing war, famine and deprivation, refugees are flooding our borders. Sponsorship of a family can help them overcome the trauma of their flight to freedom and introduce them to the One who offers true freedom.
International Business People: International business people visit the U.S. briefly for economic reasons, but Christians have unique opportunities to speak Truth into their lives.
Ethnic Communities: Internationals cluster in communities of their own kind for security and feelings of their home culture. They offer you a targeted opportunity to build relationships and tell them about our Savior.
Undocumented Aliens: Likely more than ten million people live in the U.S. without documents. Among many difficult issues associated with this, Christians find ample opportunity for the gospel.
International Visitors: America is an attraction for millions of international visitors. The window is open briefly, but what an opportunity to show true Christianity.
Missionary Kids: Children of career missionaries may return to life in the U.S. having lived in their new home culture for no more than three years. They may appear to be Americans, but they need mentoring as internationals among us.
The frontiers of world evangelization are not only in Tibet, Saudi Arabia, and China. The frontiers of unreached people groups are also in your community. God has brought the internationals of the world to the doorstep of every church in America. Let’s do world missions at home.