By Bill Bray, Special Campus Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (ANS – October 5, 2016) – International students from universities across the United States will be invited to visit local churches on Sunday, November 13, according to Debra Yarde of Overseas Students Mission.
On that day, the third annual International Students Sunday, local pastors and church leaders will intentionally pray for international students with pastoral prayers in worship services.
November 17 is International Students Day and is also celebrated in campus communities across North America with united prayer meetings at the start of the day. There are over 1.2 million international students enrolled at American universities this year.
“International student ministry is largely spiritual in nature,” says Beau Miller, Director of the Association of Christians Ministering among Internationals. “People in the ACMI network understand the importance of prayer in this strategic work. ACMI supports the upcoming International Students Day of Prayer. Thank you for calling Christians far and wide to intercede for this work and international students on November 17.”
ACMI, the Association of Christians Ministering among Internationals, a network of ISM-engaged people, has as a stated mission to serve as a global network and catalyst for strategic collaboration among those who minister to and with international students and scholars.
Overseas Students Mission national spokesperson Debra Yarde is helping to organize a nation-wide prayer and welcome effort for international students leading up to Thanksgiving. She is president of the Operation Esther Circle which serves the University of Virginia Charlottesville community. In many communities, thousands of international students are invited to American homes to join in the holiday meal and the International Student Sunday will help focus attention on the need to welcome internationals.
“For many this year,” says Yarde, “it will be their first visit to an American home.”
International Students Day on November 17 is a traditional part of international education week programs on many American campuses. In 2014, a straw poll taken of campus ministries at the annual ACMI conference determined that this would be an ideal time to organize an International Students Day of Prayer.
This is the third year it is being celebrated.
According to Cute Calendar and Wikipedia, International Students’ Day is an international observance of student community and inter-cultural friendship. Celebrating the day quite differently from its original meaning, most universities designate it for a nonpolitical celebration of the multiculturalism and international education. Often, campus leaders schedule it on days other than the date designated by the US State Department and United Nations.
Historically, the date commemorated the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal and nine international student leaders.
Photo captions: 1) Students in prayer. 2) Debra Yarde. 3) Bill Bray.
About the writer: Bill Bray is an author and journalist who specializes in Christian missions, international students and university ministries. He welcomes interaction with our readers about the topics he covers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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