By Bill Bray, Campus and Missions Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (ANS — November 8, 2017) – Beginning this Sunday, local pastors and churches are observing a week of prayer for and with international students at the University of Virginia.
Although International Students Day is officially recognized by the United Nations as November 17, local churches such as Elim Baptist will begin International Education Week with an “International Students Sunday” on November 12. Overseas students from the University will be recognized in the services at Calvary Baptist Church on Avon Street Extended. The Sunday sermon will focus on international students and the role they played on the day of Pentecost and during the aftermath, as new Christian faith spread throughout the Roman Empire.
Leaders of the UVa Grounds Fellowship will hear a brief report on international ministry from Overseas Students Mission at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning when they gather at the Student Christian Study Center.
Three worship gatherings are planned on and off UVA grounds on International Students Day, November 17. An 8:30 a.m. prayer breakfast with community leaders kicks off the focus at the Nook Restaurant on the downtown mall. At 12 noon a “Jericho March Prayer Walk” will form at the amphitheater and circle the Rotunda, followed by lunch.
That evening, students are invited to join the Operation Esther Circle for evening prayers at Overseas Students Mission, 6 p.m. to celebrate International Students Day and International Education Week. For details, call (434) 227-0811.
International Students Day is celebrated on thousands of campuses across the country and around the world. The State Department has made it the centerpiece of International Education Week from November 12-18 in the USA.
International Students outreaches, including Overseas Students Mission and International Students, Inc were first formally organized by UVA Alum Bob Finley in 1953. Besides the groups here at UVA, he started international fellowships on campuses in Washington, DC, San Francisco and Chicago. Today there are international student groups and ministries on hundreds of campuses from coast to coast.
Across the United States and Canada, campus ministry leaders are holding prayer events throughout the- week. From the early days, the Association of Christian Ministries among Internationals (ACMI) has recognized and trained the leaders of such groups. The group officially recognized the International Students Day of Prayer for the first time at their annual convention in 2016.
Here in Charlottesville, prayers for international students will start before dawn on November 17. Last year, most of the group intercession for students took place in a six-hour vigil from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charlottesville House of Prayer “Upper Room” above the Well House Café—one of several student gathering places frequented by international students and campus ministry staff.
Hundreds of student-led prayer and Bible Study Fellowship groups meet on the grounds of the University of Virginia each week. The student Prayer Collective at UVA is known as SEEK and includes representatives of most student Christian clubs and associations at the University.
Photo captions: 1) Praying for international students. 2) Dr. Bob Finley meets with Billy Graham. 3) Bill Bray.
About the writer: Bill Bray is a Christian author and journalist who contributes regularly to the ASSIST News Service. He is the author of, Called to All: How I discovered the power of a yielded life. He welcomes interaction with our readers and can be contacted at email@example.com
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