Students Yesterday, World Leaders Today

One of the things we emphasize when talking about ministry to international students is the fact that the men and women who study at our universities and colleges are the future leaders of their nations. They are the individuals who will influence their nations and peoples in the fields of politics and government, education, science, society, and, yes, even in matters of religion and faith.

What if these men and women were reached and discipled for the Lord Jesus Christ while they are students in our communities? Instilled with a vision for evangelizing people, discipling believers, and planting reproducing churches in their home countries? We can only imagine and dream of how the Lord might use them for His glory when they return to their homelands, families, and relationship networks and professions.

Some years ago I read that 40% of the world’s heads of state at that time had studied in the United States at some point in their lives, and that an estimated 40% of the world’s future heads-of-state were currently pursuing academic degrees at US universities and colleges.

This morning I came across a list of some of those individuals who have either served or are currently serving their nations in some capacity of leadership. The list is found on the website of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and can be viewed here.

Two of the men on the list studied and received their degrees at Texas A&M University, the university where my family and I are involved in home-based ministry to international students. One is Jorge Q. Ramirez, a former president of Bolvia. The second is Martin Torrijos,  current president of Panama. I do not know when either of these two men lived and studied at A&M, but I wonder: “Did anyone ever befriend and share Christ with them while they were in College Station?”

When we befriend, serve, and share Christ with international students, it is right to see them as individuals for whom Christ died. But, let us also see the people and nations the Lord will reach and impact for His Kingdom through them as they come to faith and return to their nations as the influencers of their people.

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