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Strict government regulations keeping international students from the U-S

By September 27, 2004

USA (MNN) — There are more than 700,000 international students in the United States. These students are getting a quality education and ministries are reaching out to them. But, according to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship , U-S regulations are posing problems for some students.

ICF’s Director of International Student Ministries Lisa Espineli-Chinn says the war on terror is the culprit. “In some (universities) they have actually (seen) a decrease in attendance. People who have even been accepted couldn’t get out of (their) country because of additional restrictions or requirements that the government has imposed on those who are coming in as international students.”

While the trend concerns Espineli-Chinn, the downturn hasn’t affected the work of InterVarsity. “When we think of 3,300 students that we were able to reach over the last year, that’s a drop in the bucket when you think of it. So, the field is still quite large and huge and there’s a lot there to do. So, we’re not experiencing a decrease in international student interest.”

As students attend University in the U-S from Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious stronghold nations, they’re more open to Christianity because they’re out of their comfort zone. Espineli-Chinn says, “Internationals are interested in the activities that we offer. Spiritual hunger, in many places, is being pursued.” Because of this, She’s encouraging local churches to reach out. She suggests inviting them into your home and eventually sharing your faith. Many are interested and will at least listen.

InterVarsity is on 564 U-S campuses, with 832 chapters, serving 33,000 students. Last year, nearly 1,800 people came to Christ, the highest number since 1996.

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