[caption id="attachment_554" align="aligncenter" width="944"] "Birmingham's skyline from it's highest point" by André Natta / CC BY 2.0 / Cropped[/caption]

My desire to serve internationals grew after learning that nearly 80% of international students are never invited into the home of an American during the average four to five year stay. This statistic broke my heart, and I could no longer ignore the call to reach out to those who are so far from their homes, yet so close to mine.

As a result, my husband and I, along with our small group, have been working with international students at UAB for a year and a half. We volunteer to give students rides to the grocery store on a regular basis, since many of the internationals do not have cars. We use these car rides to and from the grocery store to show Christ through service and to develop relationships with students in hopes of sharing the gospel with them. I have been thrilled to see how interested these students are to learn about our personal lives. They really want to know more about our culture, and want to share their own cultures with us as well. Through these efforts, our small group has been able to minister to students from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, and Malaysia, to name a few.

God has blessed me with the opportunity to extend some of these relationships beyond the scheduled grocery trips and really get to know and share with them on a deeper level. In particular, God has drawn me toward two sweet Malaysian ladies who are practicing Muslims, and an atheist woman from Iran. These ladies have become my instant friends, and the way the Lord has graciously placed them in my life has given me a deeper desire to share my faith more intentionally and urgently than I ever have before.

I will be honest—this is such a challenging ministry for me. It is never easy, but it is always worth it. In fact, the humbling, difficult nature of this type of ministry keeps me dependent on the Holy Spirit, as I have learned over and over again that I certainly can’t change a heart on my own. I simply want to be obedient to the great commission, and I am overjoyed and humbled that God has led me to the nations without even leaving this city!

Just imagine what would happen if every Christian befriended one international visitor. The chances are likely that internationals in the US will one day return to their home country. My prayer is that when they return to their home country they will go equipped with more than just an education, but the gospel of Christ and a new heart.



Jessica Kime is a 7th grade math teacher. She and her husband, Jared, have been members of The Church at Brook Hills since 2008 and are currently in the process of adopting their first child from Ethiopia. To learn more about opportunities to be involved with Internationals in our city, visit brookhills.org/localmissions or contact Stephanie Davis at .