Collegiate Missionary

Using Hospitality to Reach International Students in New Orleans

international students

When it’s time to cook Christmas dinner, Kimberly Myers always prepares extra for guests—some of the 600 students to whom she ministers at the University of New Orleans. As North American Mission Board collegiate missionary to international students, she uses every possible opportunity to share Jesus with them. She said, “Hospitality is a big part of our ministry.”

It takes planning to reach people from more than 75 countries as diverse as Iran, China, Guatemala, and Germany.

On Sunday afternoons, Kimberly meets the Ladies’ English Club in the married housing complex on campus. Volunteers from a nearby church supervise the children on the playground while the wives of the students spend time together.

The International Center is a bustling place on campus where students come weekly for a cup of coffee and conversation. While they are there, Kimberly invites them to study the Bible. She has been amazed to see God at work when Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists have responded positively.

The Campus Calls

Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, Sarah Martinez had a close-up view of what full-time ministry looks like. Yet she never thought that would be her calling until Christian Challenge recruited her to work at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, as a collegiate missionary.

At first, Martinez felt unworthy and ill equipped for the task God was calling her to do. However, she soon learned the wisdom of Hebrews 13:20–21 (NIV): “Now may the God of peace . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will.”

The mission and vision of Christian Challenge is to evangelize, disciple, and develop leaders. It shares the gospel and walks with students, equipping them to lead ministry and plug into local churches to utilize the talents and gifts God has given them. Martinez had no training in these areas, but God knew exactly what she needed. The hardest part came when she learned she would have to raise her own support. Her family and friends did not support her quitting her job to go into full-time ministry.

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