The Institute of International Education recently released its annual report on the number of international students in the United States. I have written about their findings over the past few years. And each year, I write the same thing: Record Number of International Students Studying in US.
This year is somewhat different.
The difference this year is: 1) the record number surpassed 1 million; and 2) Saudi Arabia is now the third largest sender of students to the United States.
China sends the most international students to the United States with 329,000. And India arrives in second place with 166,000.
India is home to the largest number of unreached people groups in the world. China is number two. Of the 27 people groups comprising Saudi Arabia, 26 are unreached.
International students. Do we see the possibilities?
In Strangers Next Door, I share the following story, one worth repeating here:
While taking a graduate course at the University of Louisville, I was paired with a student from India to work on a project together. We were assigned a social-research activity that had to be completed at one of the local malls. Since he did not have a car, I agreed to pick him up and take him home. As we traveled the local highway, I asked him questions about the South Asian Indian community in the city. After hearing of his interest in tea, soccer, and cricket, he finally shared his interest in America movies. “We watch a lot of moves. Sometimes we are bored. So we rent movies.” I asked him what he had recently watched, knowing The Passion of the Christ had just been released on DVD. It did not take long before he stated that he and several men in his apartment complex had seen the film.
“What did you think about that movie?” I inquired.
“Oh, it was so bad what they did to that man.”
Over the next few minutes, he shared with me portions from the film, probably not realizing that this was the gospel message from the Bible. I was able to use this opportunity to talk about who Jesus is, why he was killed and arose, and how we should respond. While this student was Hindu, he was extremely open to talking about Jesus, the Bible, and my experience.
Over 1 million students. A new record. Do we see the possibilities? Will we be wise stewards in this moment? The Divine Maestro orchestrates the movement of the peoples. How should we respond?