I hope that Hebrews 13:2 has urged you to consider showing hospitality to international students in the near future as a result of the message at Grace this past Sunday. I think I underestimate the impact that hospitality has on those who receive our kindness. Most of the time I am looking for that “right opportunity” to share the Gospel. I am sure that at times I bend or change the conversation to fit my agenda. The result, most of the time, is that the conversation ends abruptly, indicating that the person is not ready for more information about Jesus.
On the other hand, when I simply offer hospitality that meets the need of the person, and I am ready to follow the conversation of my guest, his or her reaction is usually gratitude and surprise. It is in this context that the knowledge as to why I am hospitable gives a powerful example of a life that has been transformed by Jesus. In every area of life, I am looking for “satisfied” people to give me an indication of what really works for them. For example, when a friend tells me of a good movie he watched, I will rent it too. Or when a neighbor shares a recipe that she likes with my wife, it will end up served at our table for a meal too. There is a good chance that you do the same thing because it meets your need and satisfies you in some way.
The same is true for our international neighbors, and especially for international students. They come to our country not knowing anyone or how to navigate life in this new culture. They are looking for someone to be a friend. Being hospitable is that God-ordained characteristic that indicates we are different in a very positive way. As they receive our kindness, it is natural to share about the One who has given us the motivation to be kind—the One who is our true satisfaction.
The only thing we need is to know some students who need our assistance. That is where International Friendships, Inc. (IFI) can be so helpful. They are the organization that introduces us to students who are arriving at The Ohio State University. They prepare us through training and God uses us through hospitality to display the evidence that He has changed our lives. I encourage you to consider becoming a volunteer with IFI by filling out their application (www.IFIPartners.org/Volunteer) so you can see firsthand how God can use your hospitality as a powerful statement that Jesus has changed your life.
Dan Green and Nancy moved back to the US after missionary service in Brazil with Encompass World Partners for 15 years. They were involved in evangelism, church planting, and leadership training. Dan grew up on a farm in Indiana, while Nancy comes from northeast Ohio. Dan studied at Purdue University (Agronomy), OSU (Soil Chemistry), and Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. They have four children and six grandchildren. Dan enjoys gardening, camping, and international travel.