FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–God has brought the mission field to the doorsteps of Southern Baptists, and Reny Madjarska, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary master of arts in theology student from Bulgaria, is standing at the threshold.
For Madjarska, the open doorway is the International House ministry adjacent to the campus of TCU, where she invites more than 450 international students from the university to experience the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.
Madjarska lives and ministers at the International House, a ministry of University Baptist Church. She has the opportunity of reaching out to students who will be the future managers, business leaders and government leaders of their countries.
“Most international students come here on scholarships and as a result of scholastic and leadership excellence,” Madjarska notes. “And when they go home, their education and skills will open the doors for prominent positions in spheres of influence.
“Just imagine the impact on their countries if they leave the United States as leaders, scientists and educators carrying the fragrance and glory of Christ. That’s exciting.”
Madjarska’s story was featured during Southwestern’s annual International Day. More than two dozen of Southwestern’s record 244 international students led a special chapel Oct. 17 at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. Madjarska shared about her ministry in a video prepared by Zihugwa Kikuyu, a master of arts in communication student from Nairobi, Kenya.
The ministry of International House includes providing transportation from the airport for newly arrived students. Volunteers also help international students furnish their apartments through a furniture lending program; a conversational English class to assist their English skills; and meeting basic transportation needs to Wal-Mart, the mall and the grocery store since most internationals do not have cars.
However, the greatest desire of the ministry, Madjarska says, is for TCU students to hear the gospel and come to faith in Jesus Christ. That, she notes, is the purpose of the Sunday morning worship time and various Bible study groups for believers or seekers throughout the week.
One of the greatest needs of the international students is for deep and meaningful friendships as they struggle through days filled with loneliness and homesickness. International dinners, held every fourth Friday of the month, provide a safe environment for internationals to meet Americans and develop relationships.
The reason the ministry is so near and dear to Madjarska’s heart speaks volumes about the impact of reaching out to international students.
“Personally, when I was in my undergraduate studies at TCU, these dinners meant a lot to me,” Madjarska says. “And through the unconditional love and acceptance I received from the people at the International House, my heart was open to hearing about Christ and later on accepting Jesus as my Savior.
“The impact of this ministry is far-reaching,” she says. “In the beginning of this year Lin from China came to know the Lord and was baptized. During the summer he went home and led to the Lord his grandma and another friend. Miwako from Japan also came to know Christ and was baptized around the same time, and now she is a witness to the many Japanese on campus.”
While the work is fulfilling, more workers are needed to reap this harvest of souls from across the globe, Madjarska says, noting that Southwestern students have many opportunities to get involved in the International House outreach.
“The immediate needs of the ministry are for a furniture lending coordinator, public relations coordinator, helping with conversational English, taking a student grocery shopping, teaching the Bible, sports outreach and evangelism.”
Yet the purpose of every activity, she says, remains “to draw unbelievers into relationships so they can see how good our God is.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: WORD OF WELCOME.