Over the last two years, particularly after becoming involved with International Students Inc., I've wondered a lot about my Christian witness and how it manifests in my life.
There are ample opportunities to witness but am I doing it right? Am I witnessing when I repeatedly referred to Christ? Or, is it when I quote or paraphrase scripture? Is it when I love people by meeting their needs without expecting anything in return? Am I really serving the Lord or am I simply serving myself because I enjoy what I'm doing? I have so many questions, and it so much to think about, but what a great opportunity to consider!
Two years ago, Doug Eury invited me to a weekly gathering of foreign UNM students through ISI. The students we met that night were determined to improve their understanding and usage of conversational English. After several weeks of participation in a group setting, I was asked by a married student if I would consider tutoring her in English. She needed help preparing for the TOEFL exam, a graduate-level English proficiency test, required prior to admission to United States universities.
God used that simple request to change our families lives and my understanding of how we can truly be witnesses for Christ.
In summary, I've gone from talking to unknown foreign university students within a structured format, to becoming close friends with Maryam and Mostafa, an Iranian Muslim couple. We consider them very dear friends and even have explicit permission to teach their four-month-old baby, Sam, about Christ as he grows up! Sam is regarded by Kara and I as our fifth grandchild and we have become Maryam and Mostafa's “American parents."
In addition to that amazing blessing, on Christmas Day we hosted eight students from both Iran and Bangladesh in our home, representing three distinct language groups, besides English!
While the English may have been fragmented, the fellowship was amazing. And, the good news is that I think "it" is just beginning.
International Students Inc. is one of the many ministries with which Mountain Christian church has encouraged participation. ISI is a program at UNM. It has been embraced by the college, in recognition that it is a Christian organization, because of the amazing services performed by this organization. ISI serves students and their families by greeting foreign students upon arrival at the airport, making housing arrangements, providing temporary shelter until those arrangements are secure, hosting social gatherings, conducting hikes, providing numerous food fellowship events, tutoring, language training, providing furniture, providing legal information – and the list goes on! The need is huge!
ISI offers us, as Christians, a wonderful witnessing opportunity and chance to step in a serve someone when they need it most.
So, take a chance and engage with others, propelled by the "idea" of witnessing; initiate a relationship and hopefully a friendship, reach out in love and serve others for Christ.
To learn more about ISI and how you can get involved contact Tom O'Brien.