Here’s another reason the American university is such a strategic mission field–there are about 14,000,000 university students attending college in America and almost 4% of them are from other nations.
The most recent statistics I could find show that over half of them are from Asia and 7% are from the Middle East. Many of these nations forbid any sort of missionary work–but they send their future leaders here to be trained! In fact, the Navigators claim that 7 of the top 10 countries that send students to the U.S. are closed to typical misssionary efforts.
That’s impressive enough, but I’ll up the ante even further. I’ve heard that every major world leader except Saddam Hussein has studied in America, but I wasn’t able to verify that claim. What I can do is list of some of the world leaders trained on United States campuses. Imagine the potential world impact of reaching the future leaders of the world today (incidentally, I have a related essay focused on America)! The political scene is so tumultuous that I won’t bother pretending this is current. Assume that they’re possibly out of power unless you hear their names on the news.
Ehud Barak, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Stanford
Alejandro Toledo, president of Peru, Stanford
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, MIT
Benizar Bhutto, first female Prime Minister of Pakistan, Harvard U
Carlos Salinas, president of Mexico, Harvard U
Lien Chan, Premier of Taiwan, University of Chicago
Lee Teng Hui, President of Taiwan, Iowa State and Cornell
Saud Al‐Fasial, Foreign Minister of Saudia Arabia, Princeton
Adul Al‐Awadi, Kuwaiti Minister of State, Harvard
Kai‐Wen Mao, Chinese Minister of Education, UC Berkeley and Carnegie‐Mellon
Dhoukan Al‐Hindawi, Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, University of Maryland
Osama al‐Baz, Chief Advisor to President Mubarak in Egypt, Harvard
Bir Birkram Sha Dev Birenda, King of Nepal, Harvard
Tahir al‐Masri, Prime Minister of Jordan, University of North Texas
Yosuko Matsuoka, Foreign Minister of Japan, University of Oregon
You don’t have to imagine the potential impact, ministry to international students has already had worldwide ramifications. Consider this telling example:
A number of years ago, Hal Guffey (former president of International Students, Inc.) was speaking to a group of Christians about the opportunity to befriend international students. At the end of his talk a young lady from another country approached him. She told him that though her father had not become a Christian as a result of his student days in the U.S., nonetheless he had returned home with a favorable impression of Christians. Many years later he found himself in a position to decide whether Christian missionaries should be allowed to remain in his country. He decided they should be allowed to stay. (source)
If you know of any others world leaders who should be on the list, let me know via the comment box!