One of the biggest changes in university education over the last twenty years has been the unprecedented rise in the number of students choosing to study overseas. From 2 million in 2000 to 5 million in 2018, the growth has been phenomenal, and looks set to continue. It has opened up opportunities for students from some of the least reached countries in the world to hear the gospel.
Open Doors records the persecution of Christians in its World Watch List. The ten countries where persecution is the most severe sent a total of 220,647 students to study internationally in 2016, according to UNESCO statistics. 2,317 from North Korea. 24,008 from Yemen. 28,515 from Afghanistan. 30,591 from Iraq. And thousands from other unreached countries.
Nadim* is one just example. Originally from the Middle East, he came to faith last year through international student ministry in Eurasia.
“There is a wonderful sense of relief in knowing that I am forgiven and secure. I’d never felt this way before,” he shared.
By God’s grace, students like Nadim have a small window of opportunity to encounter Christians and hear about Jesus while they’re studying overseas. Pray with us that these opportunities would not be wasted, but that thousands of international students would come to faith this year.
- Pray for Nadim and other international student Christians to stand firm in their faith and to have opportunities to share the gospel with their family and friends back home.
- Pray for national movements involved in international student ministry to be prayerful and fruitful in their work. Pray that they’d know how to reach students of different languages, religions and cultures.
- Pray for the 220,647+ international students from these most dangerous countries to encounter Christians during their time overseas and turn to Christ.
Throughout February, Prayerline will focus on international student ministry in a variety of contexts. You can read more stories on the IFES blog and see the stats on Instagram.
Thanks for praying with us!