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Internationals key to helping shine God’s light in America’s darkness

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Their voices may have seemed small, but the message was immense as the international children’s choir echoed choruses of “This Little Light of Mine” at International Day chapel Nov. 3, challenging every believer to carry the light of Christ to a darkened world .
Chapel speaker Solomon Ishola, national guest professor from Nigeria, reemphasized the message of the children’s song by telling the seminary students that international students at Southwestern want to be and need to be on the forefront of the battlefield in “depopulating Satan’s camp” in the United States.
“Christianity is in the minority in the U.S., even in the Bible Belt, and we need to internationalize our effort to reach America for the Lord,” said Ishola. “We are seeing Hindu and Buddhist temples and mosques in the U.S., and there are those no longer ashamed to be identified with satanic cults.”
He cited statistics that 26 percent of born-again Christians believe in astrology and consult palm readers frequently, a percentage that is virtually the same for non-believers. Fifty-eight percent of people who call themselves Christians believe that all faiths teach equally valid truths, said Ishola.
“The church in the U.S. needs help and from non-Western missionaries who are gathered here this morning,” noted Ishola, gesturing toward international students. Citing Acts 26:18, Ishola identified three missionary mandates that must be obeyed: open people’s eyes, turn people from darkness to light and mature God’s people.
“Those of us who come from other parts of the world will understand the issue of darkness more than the Americans,” said Ishola, but he added that the subject of darkness is no longer a foreign phenomenon.
“Satanism is not something that is somewhere else,” he added. “It is here with us and spreading its evil influences around schools and communities. We cannot sit idly by and think the problem will go away. No. We must get involved and confront the evil around us with the weapons of God. We can put to flight the forces of evil in this country and other countries.”
Ishola emphasized that international students want to be used in that battle to “keep stirring the church to keep the fire of the gospel burning until the Lord returns. May the Lord help us to be able to fulfill our missionary mandate as co-laborers in the vineyard of the Lord here in the U.S.”
The chapel audience also heard testimonies from three international students already involved in dispelling the darkness in the United States. Rowland Babatunde of Nigeria, who has pastored for 30 years, now serves as assistant to the pastor of First African Baptist Church in Arlington. He noted the ministry here differs from Nigeria because it is much less demanding. “People don’t come to your house and line up here in the U.S.”, said Babatunde.
Frida Robles of Mexico, who works in an Hispanic apartment ministry of University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, shared how she is helping dispel darkness through teaching English as a second language, Bible study, worship and discipleship. She noted children in the apartment complex did not even know how to pray when the ministry began, and now they freely thank God for their food.
Angy Lin of Taiwan ministers to secular international students through the International House ministry, also affiliated with University Baptist. Lin said she finds that ministry fulfilling because she can “be the light to people from countries inaccessible to Christian witness and plant the seed of God’s Word in their heart.”
After-chapel activities included an International Bazaar featuring food from around the world and displays of artifacts from countries represented by the seminary’s 181 international students. More than 500 students, faculty, staff and community members filled the Naylor Student Center banquet room to hear the reverberating sound of ethnic music from such countries as Surinam, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil and Japan.
Among the highlights of the international stage was the African Women’s Ensemble, which sang and danced to the beat of African drums. Tina Macpherson of Scotland danced the Highland Fling and invited audience members, including second graders from George C. Clarke Elementary School, to join her on stage for an impromptu lesson. More than 150 second graders from the public school were special guests at the chapel and bazaar.

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  • Jan Johnsonius