When we welcome the foreigner 

Have you met your neighbor? There are over 5 million international students scattered around the world. Chances are, you pass by one every day on your campus. In a world filled with conflict and tension, God extends his radical hospitality and love toward all people. What if your international neighbors could experience that hospitality through you?   

Sobremesa is a new initiative from IFES to promote friendships with international students on our campuses. Sobremesa, which means “over the table,” describes the Spanish tradition of relaxing around the table after a satisfying meal with good company. It describes a time and space where we can lay our defenses down to simply enjoy one another’s presence and develop the deep relationships we all hunger for. The goal of IFES Sobremesa is to fill our table with people from every walk of life. We want to taste the goodness of His grace through conversations that go deep and move our hearts. We want to sit at a table that is made whole in its diversity and reflects the loving character of God. 

 “Sobremesa isn’t simply about hospitality, or about evangelism, or even about missions. It is talking about bringing hope to a broken world, bringing healing to xenophobia. About God’s nature and how we, as His people, should also reflect His nature.” 

Martin Haizmann, IFES Associate General Secretary for International Ministries 

Sobremesa is here to help you welcome people from every nation, tribe, and tongue to that table. It will provide resources about cross-cultural communication, building genuine relationships, leading Bible studies, and partnering with the local church.  Whether you are just beginning or well along your way, we hope these resources will help you extend His welcome to those around you. 

As Yvonne Choo, Head of Engagement with FES Singapore and Sobremesa Connect community lead, put it: “I offer true friendship and hospitality because THIS is who God is. THIS is what God is like. He wants us to extend our love to the ‘other’ because we were once ‘the other’ to God.” 

As Sobremesa launches this week, please join us in asking God to use this initiative to prosper a flourishing international student ministry on campuses around the world.  

  • Pray that students will be encouraged and equipped this year to intentionally befriend an international student on their campus. 
  • Pray for international students who have just started their classes in a new country. Pray that they would be welcomed by Christian friends who can point them to Jesus. 
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