How to Use Your Time Studying Abroad to Spread the Gospel - Radical

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How to Use Your Time Studying Abroad to Spread the Gospel

A young Nigerian student found herself studying in a Middle Eastern country where it is illegal for citizens to convert to Christianity. She sat across a Muslim with an abundance of questions about God’s justice and salvation, and realized she had a unique opportunity. As a follower of Christ in this Islamic country, she could use this conversation to make the gospel known.

A Unique Opportunity to Share the Gospel

God equips all believers, even young college students, to share the gospel. If you’re studying abroad, or preparing to go soon, you have the opportunity to cross paths with people of many different backgrounds and beliefs. It’s easy to connect with people when you have a reason to be together. You are their peer, which makes it easier to build a friendship, learn about their lives in order to love and pray for them, and present the hope of the gospel.

In some countries, foreigners are given different religious liberties than citizens. Some governments that don’t allow their citizens to convert to Christianity do welcome visiting students who are Christians. This gives you a unique opportunity to be the only Christian that many of your neighbors know, enabling you to present the hope of the gospel to them for the first time (Romans 10:14–15).

How to Share the Gospel While Studying Abroad

First, prepare to share your testimony and know what the Bible says about the gospel and character of God. Before you travel, spend time building a solid biblical foundation in your local church (2 Timothy 3:15–17). Second, take time to learn about the culture and context you are going to live in. Knowing about other religions will allow you to have respectful, effective conversations, and will prepare you for possible questions others may ask about Christianity. It will be helpful for you to do a quick check up on the history of the region and city where you’ll be staying, but probably the best source of information will be your local friends.

Before you travel, spend time building a solid biblical foundation in your local church.

Lastly, prayer has great power and keeps our hearts aflame for the gospel (James 5:16-18). Prioritize praying for those you have built relationships with. Pray for God to soften and open their hearts to hear his truth and for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you have gospel conversations.

Challenges Will Arise

As you build relationships, you may encounter people who are open to having gospel conversations and some who are closed off to Christianity as a whole. Some are just reading Scripture for the first time, some are opposed to religion entirely, and many may be following tradition rather than Christ. You may have grown up in a city surrounded by Christians, but now you are in a vastly different place where Christianity is not the norm and you may face strong opposition.

It is understandable to feel like you are alone, fearful, and unprepared to share the gospel. You might feel like you should not rock the boat in order for others to continue to spend time with you. However, God will provide you with peace, community, and the Holy Spirit to equip and sustain you.

When doubts and fear creep in, remember that these gospel conversations are worth having. Eternity is at stake. Furthermore, the gospel permeates cultures, which should embolden us to approach people outside our demographics and comfort zones. These conversations can lead to someone coming to faith and lead to an even deeper friendship than before.

Spreading the gospel as a student also opens your mind to the fact that ministry and your vocation do not have to be entirely separate.

Fueling a Desire to Live on Mission

Getting a taste of gospel conversations while you are studying abroad for a short period of time should ignite a desire in you to continue fulfilling the Great Commission. It may open up discussions and prayer about other short-term or long-term mission opportunities. Nonetheless, your time abroad should yield fruit and fuel a heart for evangelism and discipleship no matter where you are.

Spreading the gospel as a student also opens your mind to the fact that ministry and your vocation do not have to be entirely separate. You can live on mission no matter what your occupation is. The blessings and benefits of evangelism in the workplace can make you realize that every class and job is an opportunity to tell others about the redemption found only in Christ.

Selah Vetter

Selah Vetter is a Content Writer at Radical. She is a graduate of Samford University where she studied Journalism and Spanish. She is a member of Redeemer Community Church.

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