The new academic year is underway in many parts of the world—including here in the US. I live within an easy walk of a major university that welcomes a large number of international students—undergrads, graduate students, and research scholars. After the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and the slow return of students in 2021, our neighborhood is buzzing again with new and returning students.
My husband and I started volunteering with a local campus ministry focused on international students when we first moved here from Hong Kong in 2013. So, it was a special joy last week to once again be involved in welcome activities for new international students. Last Saturday we met students from Asia, India, and South America at a “Kitchen Item Giveaway.” I believe that about 80% of the students were from mainland China or Taiwan. Without exception they were thrilled to meet people who cared about them. One student from central China said that getting the rice cooker and other kitchen tools and utensils was great—but meeting new friends meant the most.
We followed that up with a welcome dinner on Monday night. We expected 22 students and had about 40 show up. Thankfully, the campus staff worker thought we might need more food and had ordered extra. And we heard—over and over again—how glad they were to meet new friends and share a meal together. That time the percentage of Chinese students was even higher.
Earlier this summer we posted an article, “Can My Church and I Really Impact the People of China?” The answer to that question, both from the article itself and from my experience, is a resounding yes. As a result of similar welcome activities and other follow-up, we have had many students in our home for Bible discussions and prayer. Our church provides a location for an ongoing outreach to Chinese students. And we have Chinese students attending our services “to see what church is like.”
Even when travel to China is increasingly difficult—perhaps especially when it is difficult—God can still use you and your church to impact the people of China.
For more information on campus ministry, both overseas and within China, check out the articles below.
- Building Bridges of Friendship and Introducing Jesus: Ministry among Liuxuesheng (留学生) (CSQ)
- Why Do Chinese Come to Faith? An Infographic from InterVarsity International Student Ministry (CSB)
- Student Ministry in China (CSQ)
- Effective Outreach among Chinese—No Visa Required (CSB)
- Getting Out of the Bubble (CSB)
- Chinese University Students in the US (CSB)
- A Key Way that Christians around the World Can Contribute to Gospel Growth in China (CSB)
- Chinese Students in the West and China’s Future (CSQ article)
- A Call to Partnership in Chinese Returnee Ministry (CSQ)
- The Chinese Students on Your Doorstep (CSB)
- 5 Ways to Welcome International Students (OMF)
Narci Herr and her husband, Glenn, lived for just over 30 years in Hong Kong. They were first involved in working with the church in Hong Kong and then for the last 20 years of their time in Asia they served workers living in China. During that time Glenn traveled extensively throughout China and Narci …View Full Bio
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