PHILADELPHIA (BRN) – Recently, I led a group of 20 international students hiking! It was an amazing experience and helped me strengthen relationships with a lot of students.
At the beginning of the semester at Drexel, quite a few students told me they loved hiking, so I created a WhatsApp group for communicating with students about hikes. I posted in the group chat about hosting a hike in the Wissahickon Valley Park, and 11 students signed up. But as my fiance and I left for the campus, a guy texted me… “We are eight!” Thankfully, the Lord provided a volunteer from Redemption City Church (RCC) who could help drive the students to the hiking spot.
The autumn colors of red, orange, yellow and pink were on full display in the park, and many students told us this was a dream come true. The volunteer from RCC, myself and my fiance all had great conversations with the students, and it was cool to show them the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.
Most of them have only been in the U.S. for two months, and never experienced a fall in the northeast (neither have I!) It was fantastic to provide that opportunity for them. On Sunday, I brought a student from the hike to Watershed Church, where he heard the gospel and connected with people there.
Overall, the hike was great. However, it highlighted the importance of church members and Christian college students connecting with internationals. On this missionary-led hike, there were 20 international students and only three Christians to have conversations with them.
Despite our best efforts, we simply could not engage each student in a deep conversation. If there had been five or six more Christians there, that may have been more of a possibility. As followers of Christ, we are commanded to “make disciples of all nations.”
Many of us will never go to the Middle East or South Asia to share the gospel with the lost, but we can reach the nations right from our front porch! Or in this case… a leaf-covered hiking trail. God has blessed us so that we can bless others, and so that His salvation will reach the ends of the earth. Are you interested in joining us for the next hike?