Unchained – God’s Word Among International Students

by Ben Lim

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
2 Timothy 2:8-9

Lockdown. Border closures. Online classes, online Bible studies, online meetings. Many challenges have arisen to every international student hearing Jesus’ gospel this Year of Evangelism. We’re grieving the loss of in-person gatherings, sharing life and food alongside God’s word. For EUfocus, the atmosphere of a warm family gathering where you’re accepted despite your differences – experiencing God’s love in the loving embrace of God’s people – was vital to our ministry, helping international students feel God’s love across cultural and linguistic divides, motivating them to know Jesus more.

Suddenly this key strategic plank disappeared as EU activities moved online. Many students never made the transition. Online learning means no opportunities to make friends before or after class. Even at AnCon, usually a prime opportunity for non-Christian international students to investigate Jesus intensively, we’ve felt particularly weak as investigating international students struggle navigating Zoom meetings, complex biblical concepts and screens full of unfamiliar faces – without the warm atmosphere of the embodied EUfocus community.

The apostle Paul also faced challenges – not a global pandemic, but imprisonment – chained up like a criminal (2 Timothy 2:8-9). Yet even in chains Paul wrote: ‘But God’s word is not chained.’ No prison could stop God’s word spreading – no chains could stop God’s people sharing the gospel.

So also with us. Online communication is less effective and more tiring, and yet non-Christian international students continue investigating Jesus over Zoom. And yet God’s word was proclaimed Thursday evenings into our homes through online Come-Home Dinners. And yet, the night before Good Friday, a local Engineering student invited a Chinese classmate to hear about the significance of Easter, experiencing the joy of his friend praying a prayer of faith and repentance. And yet, on Tuesday night of AnCon, after reading the Bible throughout semester in the Mandarin Bible Study community, a female Chinese student clicked ‘I became a Christian today’ after praying a similar prayer.

God’s word is not chained.

So please pray that we continue boldly sharing the good news we hear with our international friends, that they might share with their friends, until every international student hears Jesus’ gospel and is saved.

Ben Lim
Senior Staff – EUFocus

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