March Devotions

Please enjoy the Daily Devotions for March.

Each day, a new devotion will be listed at the top of this page.

To view previous month: February

March 31
One Foot in Front of the Other

I work hard to make myself known to international students on and around the campus, even though I don’t always feel like I’m having a spiritual impact. But something must be working, because recently I got a call from a Middle Eastern student we’ll call Nathan. Although we had met, I didn’t really know him, so I felt pleased that he knew he could call to ask for help moving furniture.

After we got through the heavy lifting, Nathan and I got to talking and he asked a lot of questions about Christianity. That’s one thing I like about these students, they don’t beat around the bush talking about the weather when they have something they want to know and would rather talk about!

At the end of the conversation, I invited Nathan and his wife to have tea at our house, hoping to develop the relationship further. As it turns out, they expressed an interest in attending church with us—that took me by surprise. They shared that they had both received Bibles in their native language before they even came to study at our university.

So, because of my goal to make myself available to international students for whatever they need, Nathan called me for help with a practical task. Meanwhile, God had obviously been preparing his heart and mind for our interaction, and all I had to do was follow each step God laid before me. I love it when God leads so clearly!


Sometimes all God asks of us is to be available. Don’t try to make it more complicated—just keep putting one foot in front of the other and follow His leading.

Psalm 5:8
Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.

Submitted by: Anonymous

March 30
Saying Good-bye

Making friends with international students comes easy for ministry workers. (If it didn’t, we would probably be serving the Lord in other ways, using different spiritual gifts.) As we get to know our international friends, year after year, God knits our hearts together. He interweaves our stories, and we learn from each other.

I am in constant awe at this gift of sharing our lives together. What beauty, pain, and redemption unfold before our eyes. Still, our hope is in the One who is our Redeemer---the One who exchanges lies for truth and sorrow for a crown. As these students leave us, returning to their home countries, it continues to be difficult for me (even after fifteen years of ministry). Though it feels like a loss, we trust it is not forever. “God…You are in our coming and goings.”

Recently, beneath a tree in Central Park, we said good-bye to good friends who will be going home to China. (They return as seekers, as they have not yet made a decision.) They shared that they had talked together about praying to accept Christ and being baptized before leaving. They are on the brink, recognizing that this is the most important decision they will ever make. They do not want to rush into it. We talked about the Holy Spirit guiding them and God cultivating their faith, as they stay connected to Him—the source of Life.

I believe they will make that decision in due season. I trust God will continue His work in them.


It is hard---making friends, forging strong relationships, and then having to say good-bye. Though we can keep in touch, we always wonder how our friends are doing. Have they found other Christians with whom they can fellowship? Are they moving forward in their faith? We pray and trust God for their every need, and we encourage them long distance as much as we can. At the same time…we do what we can do, and we turn our love to the next friendship, to the next redemptive opportunity.

1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

Submitted by: Becky, California

March 29
Beyond Words

The diagnosis came back as cancer of the tongue---a harsh diagnosis for Rose, in her final days of a two-year Master’s in Translation and Interpretation. Her tongue mattered for her future career. What was God thinking?

Rose came to the United States as a lukewarm believer. She had converted from her nominal Buddhist background to Christianity during her college years, when others had shared their conversion experiences with her. She observed prosperity in the believing friends she knew and reasoned that Christianity made sense, thinking, “Maybe God gives you more blessings if you choose to be a Christian.”

Rose experienced many positives during those early months as a believer. Everything seemed to fall into place. However, over time, Rose grew more complacent in her faith as she struggled with the demands placed on her from school, home, and plans for the future. She found it easier and easier to become a “Sunday Christian” and put her faith on the back burner.

Fast-forward several years to her cancer diagnosis---never a smoker or drinker, this just didn’t seem fair. Rose had just received a good job offer to stay in America for a year under an Optional Practical Training agreement! Through those dark and lonely days, Rose confided that she couldn’t see God in this situation.

As she faced the decision to remain in America for treatment or to go back home where she understood the system better, we spent a lot of time together praying. Slowly but surely, clarity came. Through those long prayer sessions, God told her to go back to her family and turn down the job opportunity in America.

We said goodbye, but not forever. Over the years, we continued to correspond. About one year after the cancer diagnosis, she wrote us, “I’m in a great cell group right now and have made many friends. My faith in Him has never been so firm and sure. I can feel the Holy Spirit dwelling in me every day! I believe there is something even better and more wonderful in the future. I’m glad that God has brought me back to my country and made me see what I can do for Him in this precious land. We have a group of dynamic, energetic, passionate people here at our church. We’re eager to bring more young people to God!”

Rose had a much-needed operation and subsequently lost a good portion of her tongue. A biopsy revealed that the cancer had remained localized, but she also underwent radiation and chemotherapy as a precaution. Finally, the doctors pronounced her cancer-free! After extensive rehabilitation therapy to regain the use of her tongue, she learned how to use this vital instrument in new ways and eventually communicated very well with others.

Throughout the whole ordeal, Rose’s family stood by her, supporting and loving her. As Rose regained the ability to speak, she overflowed with praise to God and openly shared about this God of redemption who loved her enough to take her through this journey and make her whole again. She shared most intensely with her family. Her father and sister put their faith in Jesus, but her mother held out. Her mother couldn’t reconcile the idea of a good God letting her daughter go through something like this.

A few years later, Rose’s mother received her own cancer diagnosis, Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She had only days…weeks…to live. Rose spent every possible moment sharing God’s love with her mother and praying for her. Finally, in her mother’s final lucid days, she asked Jesus into her heart!

Although a career in oral interpretation was no longer possible, Rose came to realize that God had developed the gift of teaching in her heart. In time, Rose received a teaching position at a prominent university in her bustling Asian city. She now reaches out to her students with Christ’s love and has led many to a relationship with Jesus. Best of all, Rose can look back and see God’s tender hand throughout her life, and the way He used the hardships to creatively draw many others to Himself and His gift of eternal life.


God’s plans often differ from ours. Sometimes what He allows us to go through seems painful and confusing. However, we can remain confident that His ultimate goal is to make us who He created us to be. May we become effective conveyors of His love and truth, even when we walk through hardship and difficulties.

Colossians 1:16
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

Submitted by: Caroline, California

March 28
How Great is Our God

As we were leaving our Spring Break retreat, I could hear Shelli, a South Asian Hindu, humming the popular Chris Tomlin song, “Our God.” Many of the students had just learned this worship song during the retreat. When I commented on this to Shelli, she asked if she might have a copy of the CD for herself because she liked it so much. She expressed great delight when I brought her two Chris Tomlin worship CD’s a couple days later.

After a few months, Shelli agreed to meet and pray with me on a regular basis. God opened this door because her family was going through some financial trials back at home. We usually began by singing Chris Tomlin’s song, affirming God’s greatness, and then we prayed together. What a blessing to see the doors opened by a simple worship song that allowed me to share how God had shown Himself as healer in my life.

The Spring Break retreat the following year had even more in store as the Spirit used the same “Our God” song again. We had prayed against the threatening weather forecast (for the entire weekend) of continual rain, and our great God literally parted the clouds around us in the afternoon. The students were able to enjoy the planned outdoor recreational activities. At the end of the recreation time, the rain came, and we moved our annual campfire “talent show” indoors.

I noticed that many of the South Asian students who had been sitting along the back row outside had moved to the front row inside. Some of them even danced to a Bollywood song. After the student performances, the worship band began to lead some impromptu worship. When they chose the song, “Our God,” Shelli quickly asked to borrow my phone in order to record it. Now, I have a precious recording of a handful of South Asian gals audibly singing along to “Our God!” During this worship time, I had a clear vision that Satan is rendered powerless under Jesus’ feet!

A few weeks later, a volunteer and I took another South Asian Hindu to dinner the day before his scheduled departure. Although we had really prayed for and reached out to this particular student, we had not seen much tangible fruit. I began to focus my prayers on asking God to continue to draw Asher to Himself even after he left our community. When Asher’s roommates came to pick him up, we all went out to check out the new car he and his roommates had recently purchased. When the car doors opened, Chris Tomlin’s voice sang out from the stereo!

When I asked them how they came to be listening to one of my favorite songs, they simply replied, “It’s on FM radio.” They had no idea they had tuned in to a local Christian station. “Our God” was still at work! What a wonderful reminder that HE IS GREATER and will continue to work to draw international students to Himself even after they leave our local ministries.


When have you experienced God’s greatness in your own life? Maybe He has helped you or someone you know through a seemingly hopeless situation. Perhaps He intervened when nothing else would work. Take a minute to acknowledge how God’s greatness has been revealed in your life.

Deuteronomy 10:17
For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.

Submitted by: Emily, Texas

March 27
Lighthouses in the Dark

Recently, I was blessed to be invited to the baptism of a Chinese student, Julie. I thought about how God had orchestrated her life to bring her to this point.

This young friend, Julie, had gone on some trips and met Jing, also from China. When Julie needed to move out of her place, Jing was looking for a roommate. So Julie moved in with Jing, and they were able to help each other out.

Julie was an atheist, but Jing was a believer who read the Bible and prayed every night. Julie was having difficulties in her life, but she could see that when Jing prayed for her, God guided the results. So, soon Julie joined Jing in her prayers and Bible reading.

Julie shared that when she was a child, she’d go to the Buddhist Temple with her Grandmother, but she did not feel she was worshiping the true God. “I never saw love on those faces,” she said. “I had some problems, and when my roommate prayed to God, I knew He was watching over me. Even when I applied to graduate school, I encountered difficulties. But once again, when my roommate prayed, I felt peace and the difficulties were resolved. I realized only Jesus and praying to Him, could release my sins. So, I want to become a child of God.”

Julie shared her news with her parents and found them to be supportive. She even found that her mother wanted to learn more about the Christian faith. And so, God’s saving grace will continue to multiply.


We live in a dark and troubled world. As the light of Jesus’ love shines into that world, the desire for that light increases. Be a lighthouse and show the way for those lost in the darkness.

John 12:46
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Submitted by: Eleanor, New York

March 26
God Causes…

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28, (NASB).

This is my “this keeps me going” verse. Read it as if you are reading it for the first time. Imagine you did not know this and are just finding it out. I will go one step further… imagine you have not believed it, but now you do!

God causes…” Take those two words out of the verse for a moment, as if you do not know what God causes. Whatever He causes, He is very intentional. Whatever He is doing, He is doing all of the time---with phenomenal intentionality. Get out of His way because He causes…

Then consider what it is He is causing; God causes all things to work together for good for us! It is not a matter of He could cause it, nor is it a matter that He might cause it. It is not a matter of whether He has the power and ability to cause it.

No. No. No. Brethren…God is causing all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. You do not even have to ask Him; it is already pre-determined….by Him. The world, the flesh, and the devil may howl in protest, but there is not a thing they can do about it. You might be down…but you are never out!

So, when your friends despise and forsake you, or your loved ones are hurt---when death is at your family’s door, here is truth to comfort you:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Oh, my word…Halleluiah!


The presence of trials and tribulations is a fact of life. While unbelievers may say of life’s storms, “This too shall pass,” we can go beyond that sentiment and confidently say, “God will bring good out of this. He will work them together for His purposes!”

1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Submitted by: Ed, North Carolina

March 25
Salvation Comes “Full-Cycle”


Has the Gospel traveled full-cycle through your life? Has everyone you know and love received a clear picture of what God has done in your heart? Has your life blossomed into the kind of winsome testimony that draws anyone around to its appeal?

2 Corinthians 3:18
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

March 24
In God’s Timing

Ten full years have gone by since we arrived in Buffalo and began our ministry with ISI. The very first international student we met was a Vietnamese student named Lee. Through him, we developed relationships with more than twenty students from Vietnam, some of whom became Christians as a result.

Lee did not accept Christ when he was here, however. Although he had good questions and participated in Bible studies, he said he had “a heart to NOT believe God.” When he left seven years ago, we endured the first of many tearful “goodbyes.”

One of the saddest things at our parting was knowing that Lee had not put his trust in God, even after the many hours we had shared with him. We loved him so much and wanted him to know the God who loved him even more!

Five years ago, we visited Lee and his wife in their new home in Arkansas. During the visit, we shared more about the Lord and prayed over them before parting ways again, specifically asking God to reveal Himself to them.

Five more years passed, and we had barely heard a word from Lee and his wife. Then, one day we got a call from Lee, letting us know that his family would be visiting New York; they wanted to come see us. What a thrill to see Lee after so many years, along with his wife and infant son! During our visit, Lee’s wife turned to us and asked, “Do you remember what you prayed for us five years ago when you visited us?” We did. “God answered your prayer!” she said. She went on to tell about the complications that occurred during her delivery of their baby, and how she turned to God at that time, praying to Him and asking for His help. She also had two dreams of Jesus during that time.

God began revealing Himself to her over the next days and weeks; He answered prayer after prayer and performed miracles for their critically-ill baby. It got to the point that Lee’s wife could no longer deny the existence of God. Through all of this, Lee also softened his heart towards God.

“Now, I feel that my heart is ready to believe in God,” he shared with tears in his eyes. “So many things happened that I can no longer explain them away as mere coincidences!”

Lee still has many questions about God, and his wife has just begun understanding this God she now calls, “her Father.” However, they are both moving along the pathway to becoming true followers of Jesus! We plan to begin a Bible study together through Skype. How exciting to see what God has done through the years and to look forward to how He will continue to work through this precious family.


Never give up on someone whose heart seems hard or cold to the message of salvation. Keep on praying and living out God’s love and grace. Years may go by, but God hears and sees. You may, one day, witness the fruits of your labor!

Matthew 7:7
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Submitted by: Don, New York

March 23
Whosoever Believes

Over a period of four years, Ben and I developed a close friendship. A Ph.D. candidate in chemistry, Ben had an especially outgoing personality for a scientist. A product of the atheistic, evolutionary worldview of his culture, Ben regarded religion as myth or superstition; however, he entertained questions about the meaning of life.

His first contact with Christianity had come through a professor in China who had become a believer when he studied in the United States. Ben expressed amazement that a respected scientist would accept any religion, so the professor’s faith triggered Ben’s curiosity.

Within a few weeks of arriving in America, Ben accepted an invitation to a social activity at a church and found the people very friendly. He began attending a Bible class for international students on Sunday mornings and studied the Book of John with an American couple from the church. He was impressed by the goodness of Jesus; also, the idea that the world could only improve if people changed on the inside resonated with Ben. However, although he recognized sin in the world, he did not see it in himself, so he could not understand why Jesus had to die.

Ben began studying Acts with another couple where he first learned about the Holy Spirit. However, rather than attributing the change in the lives of the apostles to the Holy Spirit, he came up with a psychological explanation. While seeking truth and knowledge, Ben attended a number of programs about creation, as well as several evangelistic meetings. About this time, our discussions about Christianity began, and we talked at great length about his questions. When his girlfriend accepted Jesus into her heart, he felt increased pressure to make a decision about belief in God.

After reading a book by a secular physicist that convinced him that belief in God did not violate scientific law, Ben decided to re-think his questions from the assumption that God does exist. He prayed that if God existed, He would make Himself known. Not much later, Ben consulted a doctor about some pain in his chest and received a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer. 

Initially overwhelmed with fear, he realized that God had answered his prayer, and he began to embrace what the Bible teaches about life after death. Gradually his fear dissipated. I remember when he told me how thankful he was that God had not allowed the cancer to come until Ben had come to the point of believing in Him.

Ben still needed to accept that Jesus’ death and victory over sin applied to him personally. I encouraged him to read Romans 3 and wrestle with the statement, "There is no one righteous, not even one." God opened his eyes, and Ben realized that he was no better than anyone else before God. Once he looked deep inside, Ben recognized every kind of sin and selfishness and that he needed Jesus’ sacrifice.

Evidence of Ben's faith shone in his deep desire to see his family come to know Christ, as well as his yearning to use the Bible to teach English back in China. Even though he feared many things beyond his control, Ben’s faith grew as he watched God provide for his needs. His parents easily obtained visas to come to America and care for him during months of chemotherapy. They expressed amazement at how many of Ben’s Christian friends pitched in to help.

Ben's cancer did not respond to treatment, and he eventually returned to China with his parents. A Chinese pastor from Wichita visited him there several months before he died. He reported that Ben's gratitude to God for saving him had not waned, even as his life ebbed away.


As humans, we tend to rate some sins as bigger or more serious than others, but all sin separates us from God. Instead of getting caught up in whether or not we are better than those around us, let us focus on the grace that saved us. May we deepen our relationship with the One who made it possible!

Romans 3:23-24

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.


Submitted by: Dick, Kansas

March 22
Who Gave and Who Received?

“At the end of the trip, we reflected on our time with her, and we are so thankful for what once started out as two strangers meeting each other in America; it became two families enjoying sweet fellowship with each other in Kenya!  My relationship with Tendai has been life-altering; I am thankful to God for His divine work through ISI.”


Reading this, it is hard to tell which of these two believers was most blessed by the other! That is so often how God’s hand impacts the lives of those who serve Him with obedience and selflessness. Blessings from God flow in all directions. Bless yourself by blessing someone else today!

Luke 6:38
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Submitted by: source withheld

March 21
A New Found Strength

Like many international students in the United States, Esther comes from a country traditionally closed and even “hostile” to the Gospel message. Ever since her childhood, Esther longed to explore the Western countries in the world. Right after her 23rd birthday, her dream came true. She got accepted by a U.S. university and would pursue her graduate studies in Accounting. A fresh, young graduate, Esther brimmed with ambition and confidence!

Although Esther came from a well-to-do family, and her life appeared great from the outside, she harbored a sense of gnawing emptiness in her heart. As a perfectionist, she often felt disappointed, with herself, with her family and with the people around her, or with how things turned out. If she got an A, she felt disappointed that she didn’t get an A+. If she did get an A+, she felt upset if others in her class also got an A+! She struggled with the sense that she could not control her life.

As an international student in the United States, Esther certainly experienced many challenges. She lost her car just months after she bought it, her grandfather got seriously ill and passed away during her final exams and she could not return home to see him for the last time, and her boyfriend left her for another girl, just to name a few. Fortunately, some Christians befriended Esther and genuinely cared for her. They often invited her to Friday night Bible studies. She felt particularly fascinated in discussing the stories of Joseph and Job and how they dealt with major discouragement and disappointment in their lives.

She knew she did not have the wisdom and strength these men of God had displayed. A friend in the Bible study group wisely pointed her to God’s promise in Isaiah: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

From friendships and Scriptures like this, Esther learned that God had created her and was with her all the time. She did not need to feel insecure, but instead could trust Him. She realized her worth was not determined by her performance or her career accomplishments or advancement. She gained great freedom and power in these assurances from God! Esther accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord, and for the first time could embrace life and be herself.

Today, if you ask Esther how she handles challenges and disappointments, she will tell you, “Hope in God in all circumstances, though life can be very challenging at times, God is good all the time!”


When facing difficult circumstances, we often feel small and powerless. Scripture records many instances of men and women of God who endured through many trials and challenges. Hold on to these examples of God’s faithfulness. Do not allow doubt to creep in and convince you that you walk alone.

Isaiah 43:2
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Submitted by: Kaili, New Zealand

March 20
I’ll Have What She’s Having

“I don’t believe there is a god. I just believe in evolution. This is what we are taught in my country. There is no god. Only science.” This was Chloe’s response to my question of whether or not she believed in God as I drove her home after an evening International Christian Fellowship (ICF) meeting. She had faithfully attended for more than a year, always quietly taking things in.

“So why do you keep coming to the ICF meetings so regularly, if you don’t believe in God?” I asked.

“I like the people there. I feel peaceful.”

We continued the drive in silence, and as I dropped her off, I told her I would pray that God would show Himself to her in a way she could understand.

Only a few weeks before the end of her two-year stay in our area, Chloe committed her life to Jesus. But with so little time left for discipleship, we felt concerned that her newfound faith would quickly fade.

Fast-forward ten years… Chloe works as a dentist in her home country. She has a deep faith in Jesus that she shares with everyone she meets. Now married and with two beautiful children, she exhibits the fruit of the Spirit in her every day life.

After finishing her studies in our area, Chloe moved on to do her graduate studies in Boston, where she connected with a strong Christian family and a fellowship that helped her grow and deepen her faith. We needlessly worried about Chloe since she left our area with such an undeveloped faith, forgetting that God was in charge of her discipleship, not us. He set up a series of “coincidental” meetings with other members of His body who could take over her nurture and spiritual development and guide her along in His plan for her life.

She later told me, “I came to see God in the love of Christians for each other. I wanted to have that love in me.” Chloe had observed Christians over those years and had seen something in their lives that moved her deeply. She began to long for the kind of joy and peace she saw in their lives. What happened? The Lord showed Himself to her in a way that spoke to her.

“Praise God who made me as I am and love me dearly when I trust in Him,” she said in a recent correspondence.


Often as Christians we don’t realize the impact and importance of expressing our love to those around us. It is the loudest witness of the existence of God in the world today. When people see and experience the way brothers and sisters in Christ care, they feel drawn to become part of that community.

John 13:35
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Submitted by: Dale, California

March 19
In God’s Time

At an ISI Matchup Luncheon, we began what became a wonderful friendship with Xavier, a student from China. As we drove Xavier to his dorm after the program, we talked about when we could get together and what we might plan to do. He surprised us when he asked right away if we could start studying the Bible! We got excited thinking this might be easier than we expected!

We bonded with Xavier quickly and enjoyed our times together. He would teach us about his country, and we would teach him about the U.S. and about our faith in God. His enthusiasm to study the Bible and learn about Christianity encouraged us. Yet as time went by, we realized he was stalling. He would say, “In two years, I will believe in the God.”

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 triggered some very good discussions. We went to Genesis and talked about the origin of conflict between the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac. We moved on to the book of Daniel and looked at Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about future empires. Xavier knew enough about world history to recognize the fulfillment of those prophecies and expressed amazement that the Bible accurately predicted the future. We could see the flicker of belief start to grow.

After a visit back to his own country, Xavier spoke of experiencing extreme turbulence while at home. His fear caused him to reach out in prayer to God, and we felt that surely he would make a confession of faith soon. But, God’s timing seldom matches up with ours.

Xavier’s wife came to join him in America, and he encouraged us to show her what we had been teaching him about Christianity. We went through the same series of six lessons again, but to our disappointment, neither of them felt ready to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

When Xavier graduated, he and his wife moved to Los Angeles. We mourned their leaving, partly because we would miss them and partly because we feared they would not continue in their search for God. However, they promised to find a church to attend in LA, and every time we checked in with each other, they always assured us that they continued to attend church in California.

During one of our phone calls, Xavier shared that his wife had recently been baptized. We rejoiced, but did not get any indication that Xavier had given his heart to Christ.  Finally one day, nearly five years after our initial meeting, the phone rang and I heard Xavier say, “I am Christian.” What joy filled our hearts as at long last, we heard the story of Xavier surrendering his life to the Lord. What a joy to have played a small part in that harvest!


Sometimes we think we know what God is doing and jump to conclusions about how He will get things done. It can be difficult to watch and wait as He weaves His pattern into the fabric of our lives and the lives of those we love. But whether or not we get to see the results of our planting or nurturing, we must continue to sow the seeds and trust God to grow them in His timing and in His way.

I Corinthians 3:7-8

It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.

Submitted by: Roxane, Kansas

March 18
Who Am I?

By the age of ten, I had three identifiers after my name: MK, PK, and GK. The church assigned my father to agricultural development in Thailand, so I became a MK: Missionary’s Kid. Because he had earned a B.Div., my father also took on the role of “circuit preacher” and drove us to rural churches in his Land Rover, making me a PK: Preacher’s Kid. However, the most important letters to transform my life were GK: God’s Kid; I became a member of God’s Kingdom.

At university, people identified me as “different,” “reserved,” “strange,” and “weird.”  However, that didn’t stop me from adding to my alphabet soup of credentials, earning my BS, MLT, MA, and TEFL certifications. These summarized my accomplishments and qualified me for various positions, including: “Stocker,” “Department Manager,” “Donut Maker,” and “Cake Decorator.”

Then, I joined ISI (International Students, Inc.) as CS (Campus Staff) and began working in ISM (International Student Ministry). This position added any number of titles to my growing repertoire: CP (Conversation Partner), MM (Match Maker for CPs), Trainer, MNC (Multi-National Chef), and ST (Story Teller of parables).

My Indian friend always addresses me as, “Sir” which makes me feel formal and awkward. My Arabic friend calls me, “Teacher” which applies in his culture. My personal favorite, “Abdullabdelladeheem” means “Servant of God” in Arabic and summarizes why I work with international students.

So who am I, really? I am a son of God, and no other title that I might earn or add will ever mean more to me than that one. I hope and pray that one identifier shines through every other one I take on.


We can get caught up in who we are or what we have accomplished in this life. We miss the point when we want to make sure others know our status or level of achievement and think more highly of us. May others see that our identity in Christ is our most recognizable “title”, no matter what our station in life.

Jeremiah 15:16
When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.

Submitted by: Dan, Iowa

March 17
Saved By Grace

Gustav grew up in a strong Muslim family in Turkey. From a young age, he learned about being a good person in order to earn the right to go to heaven. Since Arabic worship and prayers did not make sense to him (as a Turk), he mostly resorted to prayer (to Allah) in difficult situations.

After coming to the United States as an international student, Gustav felt he became more Muslim. When someone asked him about his religion, he felt it challenged the people he felt the most love and respect for. Gustav also felt that people opposed him for his nationality because they could not separate his faith from his nationality; he often argued with other students in an attempt to make them understand his Muslim religion. Consequently, he did not listen to what others said about Christianity; he only tried to convert them to his own faith.

Meanwhile, Ron, a Kansas pastor, went to the university and asked to host a Turkish student. As they spent time together and talked, Gustav persistently argued with Ron to prove that he was right and Ron was wrong. However, over time, God spoke through Ron and his church to reach Gustav’s battered heart. Ron’s church family accepted Gustav as a person, not just as a Muslim. Their small acts of love and friendship had a big impact on this transplanted student in a foreign country.

Over a three-year period, Gustav learned to trust Ron as his host father, as well as the friends he made from the church, for he knew he could count on them; he attended church occasionally, just to show his appreciation for their friendship. Gustav felt that these people taught him about the love of God through their smiles, hugs, and affection. They intentionally forged a relationship and included him in their families and activities, even taking up a collection to bring his mother to Kansas for his graduation. They accepted him unconditionally.

Gustav began to spend more and more time around his church friends and ended up in a Bible study, mostly out of curiosity. He even compared the Old Testament with the Koran and found some similarities. Asking more and more questions along the way, he tried to prove Christianity wrong, but his patient friends never pushed him. As he learned about Jesus and his teachings, he learned that he didn’t have to earn God’s love.

It all began to make more sense to Gustav, and he knew that on his own, without grace, he could never get to heaven. Along with his faith, Gustav’s fear increased. To Gustav, his family represented the most important thing in life. He did not want to hurt them or let them down, nor did he want to be rejected by his family. In the eyes of Muslims, those who convert to Christianity are considered nothing.

Gustav prayed to both God and Allah simultaneously as he felt pulled between the truth and everything he had ever known. The tension grew so great in him that he lost his ambition and desire to live; he spent almost nine months in this state of despair. Finally, with many praying for him, Gustav gave his life to Jesus. He counted the cost to become a Christian, stepped out in faith, and experienced an immediate peace.

Gustav’s family still does not know about his change in allegiance, his new faith. He continues to pray about how to share his faith with those he loves most. Ron’s church continues to support, love, and provide direction for Gustav. Meanwhile, Gustav has shared his testimony in churches and newspaper/newsletter articles. Ministering to other Turkish Muslims and sharing the gospel with other international students, Gustav wants his life to make a difference to unbelievers.


No amount of good living, sacrifice, or success will make us more pleasing to God. In our human nature, we struggle with grasping that no matter what we do, we cannot make God love us more or less. Living out that kind of love stretches our human capabilities but speaks volumes to those who watch us.

Ephesians 2:8-9

God saved you by this grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Submitted by: Dick, Kansas

March 16
God is in the Details

A growing young family, my husband and I had just completed our degrees and a year of seminary when we joined ISI. With two little girls at home, we had commitments for $300 of monthly support and lived very frugally. One Wednesday night after our outreach ministry, the 14 Thai students we had gathered together decided they should just spend the night with us to avoid the complications of getting them all back home. Once we got them settled in the nooks and crannies of our little house, we excused ourselves to attend our mid-week church meeting.

The pastor spoke on the “widow’s mite,” and we could easily relate. At home we had nothing to serve the students for breakfast and no milk for our babies. Between us we scrounged up a dollar, designated for the milk, but mutually agreed that we would give God our “mite” in the offering plate that night. We knew God didn’t need our dollar, but we needed to demonstrate that we trusted Him with the little we had. We had not shared our situation with anyone else, but as we walked out of the service that night, an elderly man we had never met, tapped my husband on the shoulder and said, “God told me to give this to you.” A ten-dollar bill! How immediately God had provided!

A couple weeks later, I shared this story at a Mother’s Day brunch at a local church. In response I got a phone call from a family offering to pay for a bi-weekly milk delivery service, straight to our home. Their only request was that we share Jesus with the milkman and his son. This gift continued for many years, until just after our youngest had left for college.

Thousands of students from 115 countries around the world have come to our home for more than 19 years and heard the “milk story.” And, in keeping with our part of the bargain, we faithfully shared Jesus with the milkman and his son every week.


God knows what you really need and He will provide. Stay tuned in to what He is calling you to do, listen to His voice and remember that God seldom does things the way we expect Him to.

Matthew 6:31-33
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. See the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Submitted by: Miriam, California

March 15
A Reality-Check Testimony


This testimony confirms several things, but most important is the impact of genuine Christian love. As Christians, we can often be so busy and preoccupied that sometimes we fail to share Christ’s love and compassion with the people we meet. May we extend warm smiles and gestures of selflessness to family, friends, and strangers alike. Those we seek to reach can see and sense the love in our hearts. Ask God to kindle the love in your heart and let it shine for all to see.

Matthew 6:1-4
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Submitted by: source withheld

March 14
A Family Homecoming


It is easy to forget the passion and wonder of our early days in Christ. For those who have followed Him a long time, that initial burst of relief, gratitude, wild hope, and fervor can seem like a distant memory. How refreshing it is to relive those days of excitement through the testimonies of those who have just had a dramatic encounter with Christ! Thankfully, it is never too late to ask Him for a fresh rekindling of that first love.

Revelation 2:4
But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

Submitted by: source withheld

March 13
Open Door

As workers in ministry, we have a strong sense of urgency to reach as many people for Christ as possible. But sometimes, we can spread ourselves too thin. It’s at this point we need to step back and ascertain whether a more concentrated focus and effort on fewer is better and more effective than trying to reach too many with not enough time, resources or energy.

One day, an Iranian student told his friendship family that he had finally accepted Christ. The Friendship Partner family called me and mentioned that this student has now started introducing them to other Iranians at the university. Now, these Iranians see this family as their friends.

The family asked me if it is appropriate to spend less time with other international students I have matched them with, and more time with this Iranian community. Yes, I said. We all agreed it would be best for the family to grow closer and deeper in this "open door" opportunity; the field is ready for harvest. There will be time to reach the other students, or perhaps another friendship partner will be available for them.

We all have limited time and influence. We can't pursue everything that seems good. If God opens a door with a new believer and his network, we should spend much of our time with them. Although this may require us to say no to other opportunities, it will help us to be more effective with the ones who are ready now.

As it says in Luke 10:7, “Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place…” In doing so, we can pour much of our lives into the few open-door people that God has brought to us.


If God is calling you to a specific work he will help you handle your time, energy and resources effectively. Don’t worry about what you can’t do, but focus on the open door.

John 6:44
For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.

Submitted by: Mike, Nevada

March 12
A Dark Day for International Students


There is a reason why so many breaking news stories seem to fall back onto the subject of faith. After all, the needs of humanity and the reality of sin are prime causes for so many the world’s tragic conflicts. Many of the challenges before us are traceable to sin and rebellion against God; may we help many surrender to Him and change their lives.

1 John 5:3
Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

Submitted by: source withheld

March 11
An Appetite for More

One of the ways my wife ministers into the lives of female international students, has been to offer “cooking nights” in our home. She gets to interact with them in a very personal and intimate setting – our kitchen! The women enjoy learning new recipes, making new friends, practicing their English, and of course, the fruits of their labors! (Sometimes they even leave some for me!) Something about doing such a practical thing together really creates a wonderful and warm environment for sharing and caring.

Recently, Jan invited some of the women from her Conversation Class to spend an evening cooking at our house. They all enjoyed the experience so much that they decided it should become a weekly event. Giggling, one of the young women said, We need a mom, and you need daughters.  

How perceptive! She not only recognized her loneliness for her own mother and that particular female interface, but she identified Jan’s “empty nest” with both our girls grown, married and moved away from home. This mutually beneficial event and relationship has opened the door for Jan to share her testimony with students who might never have attended a specifically religious activity. One of them, a student from the Middle East, has begun to question her own religious background and probe for more information on the faith Jan talks about.


Speaking into someone’s life does not only happen in church or at a Bible study. More often than not, the little, everyday things we do with the students create wonderful opportunities to walk “real life” together. Always be ready and available.

Ephesians 5:15-17
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

Submitted by: Randy, Colorado

March 10
Silent but Deadly

Now that I have your attention... here’s something to think about: In ministry, who would you say are your most powerful allies? Your monetary resources? Perhaps it’s your talented and dedicated volunteers. Maybe it’s your location and the atmosphere in which you serve. Or the experienced servants working with you who have loved internationals for many years.

So, who are my most powerful allies in ministry? They are the people who pray for me and for the work I am a part of. They are the silent but deadly warriors who quietly slay the dragons. They are the people who know how to bring walls down with a single word: Jesus.

Strength is important but not necessary in ministry. We can do the most for the kingdom of heaven from the place where we think and reason. From the place where we process information and make our plans.

I am grateful for the people who pray for this ministry. Because of them, we have favor wherever we go. Because of their faithfulness, we can stand on their shoulders and walk out the course God has planned for us. Because of prayer, there is fruit in the kingdom of God. The prayer warriors are the ones doing the real work.

They are silent but deadly. But in a good way, mind you!


Find people who will commit to pray for you and the ministry God has called you to. These prayer warriors will encourage your heart as you serve the Lord!

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Submitted by: source withheld

March 9
Reaching Across the Divide

Feeling called to focus on ministry to Muslims, my wife, our four small children, and I moved to Arizona. Tucson had many Muslim students, especially from Arab Gulf countries. (Perhaps they were attracted to the desert climate.) A group of four young families, mostly graduate students, had been meeting for several years to pray specifically for the Muslims in the area.

After spending the first few years in one-on-one ministries (like relationship building, conversational English tutoring, and Bible studies), I wanted to figure out a way to reach the larger Muslim student population with the Gospel in a friendly, respectful forum. I had the idea of approaching the Muslim Student Association (MSA) about co-sponsoring a series of four Christian-Muslim dialogue sessions with the Baptist Student Union (BSU). The BSU on campus could host two, and the local mosque down the street could host the other two. We planned for one Christian speaker and one Muslim speaker to address an agreed-upon topic, followed by a break with refreshments provided by the host group, and then a time for question and answer with a moderator. Each group would also set up a literature table. The MSA agreed that it provided a good forum for sharing what Muslims believe. Together, we agreed on these topics to discuss in the forum: the nature of God, the relationship between God and man, Scriptures and Revelation, and morality.

We had a turnout of about seventy people, including many Muslims, at the first session at the BSU. Although some of the questions were a bit intense, we managed a friendly, respectful exchange of ideas overall. The second session, hosted at the mosque, provided many of the Christians who attended their first opportunity to enter a mosque. In keeping with protocol, we removed our shoes at the door, and the men sat together in the front while the women were in a separate section in the back. The crowd was about one hundred this time, with about 75% of them being Muslim. The strong Muslim turnout indicated they took the issues of religious faith seriously.

The MSA provided a generous supply of refreshments, and their members were good hosts. After the meeting, at the Muslim prayer time, we (Christians) received permission to stand in the back of the mosque and observe as the Muslim men prostrated themselves in prayer before Allah. As people left, they passed by our literature table, and many took a Bible (in Arabic or English), as well as other Christian literature. There we stood, giving out Bibles inside a mosque! I am still amazed when I think about it.

During all four sessions, we gave out about forty Bibles and 200 other pieces of Christian literature. Each of our Christian meetings included a presentation of the gospel, even those held in the mosque. Preaching the Gospel and handing out Bibles in a mosque—you never know what opportunities God will provide!


Muslims see God in every aspect of life and are very open to talking about religious topics. They want to please God and take issues of faith very seriously. Let us be willing to respectfully dialogue with them (and others). Also, let us pray together that God will reveal Himself to those of other faiths, so that they will come to know the one true God.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Submitted by: David, New York

March 8
A Rose by Any Other Name

Recently, I had a chance to travel to one of the biggest cities in the world, so I jumped off the couch, packed my bags, and headed off for the trip of a lifetime.

The state I live in has a population of almost four million people. But the city I visited had at least five times that many. As I looked around, trying to grasp the magnitude of what I was seeing, hearing, and smelling, I knew what they meant by “culture shock.”

In the midst of the bustling crowd, the Holy Spirit reminded me (as He often does when I least expect it) that He’s on a first-name basis with each and every person in that city.

While visiting another huge metropolis, I was astounded to see a row of mailboxes with letter-characters on them that all looked similar to me. What must the postal system be like in such a populous place? How do they find everyone?

This reminded me of when Jesus met Mary Magdalene at the tomb after the resurrection. It wasn’t until He called her by name that she recognized Him. The sound of His beloved voice melted her heart and opened her eyes to whom she was talking to.

Whether one woman at a tomb or millions of people in a big city, God knows each of us by name.


Names are important. They help us in being identified, they can define who we are, and they can give us cause to ponder the great love of God. Our God is so personal and tuned in to us as His children. He treats us all as uniquely as He created us.

Isaiah 43:1
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Submitted by: Ruth, Connecticut

March 7
Delivering Gifts That Change Lives

The “TianAnMen Square incident” of 1989 happened before we had the Internet, and long-distance phone calls were pretty exorbitant back then. So several Chinese students and scholars, who were desperately trying to get in touch with their family members in Beijing had trouble doing so. ISI responded to this challenge by offering scholarships to several Chinese international students nationwide in order to defray the costs of their phone calls. I had the privilege of delivering one such check to Zhang, a visiting scholar in Astrophysics at UC Berkeley. His family was grateful for the assistance, and as a result they got involved in various ISI events and activities. Many people prayed for their salvation. Fast-forward 17 years. We received an email from their son, Fred, who had trusted in Christ as a UC Berkeley freshman. He wrote:

“My life has changed dramatically in the last two years! I used to be perplexed by how someone could willingly give up his life for a life of serving God. I had been clinging to possessions, time, my own freedom as if it truly belonged to me. Now I understand at what price God has bought us back, and for this I willingly serve Him. I can't say that every moment of my life has been marked by peace, love, joy, or repentance since I took up the cross. However, I have been learning how to count each day as a blessing and to wait upon the Lord’s return.”


You don’t know when the seeds you plant will yield a harvest. The seeds planted in response to the Lord’s urging to help those Chinese students in 1989 may have been forgotten by those who sowed them. But what a blessing it was to see that those seeds have grown and are bearing fruit.

Isaiah 55:9-11
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Submitted by: Simon, California

March 6
In the Midst of My Pain

When my wife and I went through the tremendous pain and loss of a failed adoption, you can imagine the emotional toll it took on us. For me, it affected my spiritual life and made me question God’s goodness and provision.

In the midst of my suffering through this, God allowed me to come alongside another young man who was also suffering a loss. The young man, KC, from Taiwan, was a grad student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and he was the boyfriend of one of the gals involved in our ministry. They had started dating in Taiwan; and after coming to the university; she came to Christ through our ISI group. She broke off her relationship with KC, and over some time got involved with a Christian young man, who also became a believer through our ministry.

One night, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my phone ringing. It was KC. He was feeling such devastation, hopelessness, and jealously over the break up with his girlfriend and the knowledge that she was now with someone else. I talked and prayed with him, and we set a time to get together.

We started to read the Bible together. We were able to be vulnerable with each other—walking through the disappointments of life together. We met for over a year to read the Bible and discuss spiritual matters, and eventually he gave his life to Jesus. We continued to meet weekly for Bible study and prayer until the time of his graduation with a PhD. KC also got involved at my church and grew in his faith as he committed to a small group.

Now KC has a job with Intel in Northern California. He is married to a Christian woman from China and now has two beautiful boys. KC wrote, “We are reaching out to the Chinese community in this area, because we do observe a spiritual emptiness in them. God is also preparing us for a future ministry in China.”

I’m so thankful to God for the work he is doing in KC’s life and the life of his family. God took a time when I was feeling spiritually empty and allowed my brokenness to help someone in his brokenness.


So often we think we can’t minister to others because we are going through something. We think we don’t have the emotional or mental strength to reach out because we ourselves are struggling to survive in the midst of our own pain. It’s hard to believe that we can be of any use to God. But in fact, He tells us that it is during these times He can work even more powerfully. All He wants us to do is “show up.” He’ll do the rest.

2 Corinthians 12:9
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Submitted by: Tim, California

March 5
Live Out Loud

We first met Adil shortly after his arrival from India. He had come with a group of international students to study in America for one year. Sponsored by the State Department, each student was assigned to a host family and had two mentors to help, as well. As one of his mentors, we agreed to spend time with Adil each month, so he would better understand the American culture and customs. We soon learned that Adil came as part of a package.

We met Adil’s three roommates for the first time when we picked him up at his apartment. They gladly welcomed us into their home for food and drink. These young men had already formed their own community, and we felt blessed to be included. Although we had only come to take Adil to dinner, we ended up taking them all. Adil and his friends loved to go on adventures. They stayed busy with school and travel, but also loved to just hang out together as a family.

We had them over to our home often and included them in different outings. They needed community service hours for their education, so we regularly “volunteered” them at our church. Afterwards, we would just sit around during a meal and enjoy one another’s company, sharing experiences from our different cultures.

One day, Adil announced that his mother would be coming for a visit. He said he would like her to meet us and beamed when we offered to have a dinner party with his friends in her honor. When the day finally arrived, we picked up an excited Adil and headed to the airport for the family reunion. They were so happy to be together again.  The dinner party in her honor took on a life of its own as Adil and his friends helped plan and serve the meal. We spent a memorable day together---laughing, talking, and eating. The conversations were simple and sincere.

We still treasure the time we spent with his mother; she obviously loved her son and his friends and greatly appreciated our role as their “host parents.” Sometimes we take our “practical help” and “sharing Christ’s love” for granted. We just do what God has called us to do and forget what a big deal it really is. The love we share with these students reverberates around the world as parents hear how their children are being cared for far away from home. When they find out that we do what we feel Jesus would do, they come face-to-face with the Savior of the world. This is more than just a job; we live out an adventure in faith with God orchestrating the details.

At the end of the year, Adil and his friends returned to their own countries, but we continue to receive correspondence from him regularly via the internet and an occasional phone call. We continue to pray for his future and praise God that we got to share a part of his life.


Sharing Christ’s love with just one person can quickly lead to sharing with others. The good deeds we do in Jesus’ name plant seeds that can one day blossom into personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Let us continue to reach out and make a difference in the lives of those we encounter.

Philippians 1:1-2
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Submitted by: Charles, Arizona

March 4

Taketo’s father was a Shinto priest. He once commented, “I was brought up in eager worship of idols. Unless we lived in the U.S., it might have been hard to touch us with Christian teachings.” 

He saw a sign near campus for conversational English class for wives, which his wife, Juni, started to attend. They connected with believers as a result. Taketo said,

“At first sight I was impressed with the warmth and kindness. We became aware of Christ’s teachings and decided to become Christians and get baptized. I got my Master’s degree, but my wife and I got a much more valuable gift from God.

Christ liberated us in many ways—the way we should live, the way to bring up children, how to use spare time and money, how to make and keep company with friends, and so on.

Juni received Christ as her Savior! My mother also received Christ as their Savior in her old age! And now that I’m back home, I love to witness to international students that come to my country. I am a deacon in my local church.”


Have you been liberated to live life to the fullest that God has for you? Have you embraced God’s ransom for you?

1 Peter 1:18-20
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

Submitted by: Teri, Arizona

March 3
Share What You Love

ISI has organized a small friendship group called Ladies’ Tea, mostly geared toward the wives of international students, in our area. We meet every two weeks to discuss a specific topic or work together on an activity while sharing cookies and tea. Although I am not a student, I received an invitation to join the group several years ago and I am forever grateful! Since I work from home, I don’t get a lot of interaction with the human world, so I find myself looking forward to these meetings. I always seem to come away inspired and encouraged after sharing time and perspective with women from so many different cultures.

 Over the years I have developed various hobbies. When I began sewing and selling tote bags for a fundraiser event it got me thinking about introducing this as a project for our Ladies’ Tea. So, on the appointed day, everyone showed up with a wide array of fabrics, chattering and excited about the end product. With fabric laid out everywhere, the measuring and cutting began. With little or no sewing experience, most of the women needed immediate attention. I found myself running between this person and that!

Two hours later, amidst a buzz of excitement, we turned the fabrics inside out to reveal the finished tote bags! I treasured watching the joy revealed on the face of each participant. I felt so blessed to play a small part in bringing that joy! Each woman would take home a tote bag she had created with her own hands, and hopefully with every use, she would remember the warmth of shared friendship on the day she had made it.

This reminds me of our Creator who made us so intricately and wonderfully. He too rejoices over us, His creation! When He formed us in our mother’s womb, He already knew exactly what talents and (spiritual) gifts we would have. And although we don’t brag arrogantly about our own gifts, we should use them as often as we can to bless others.


What do you do well? Maybe you love cooking and could whip up a tasty treat for that busy mom down the road. Maybe you love children and can ease a weary parent’s load for an afternoon. Maybe it’s gardening or repairing things around the house; offer to help others with needs in those areas. Look for opportunities to use your gifts and resources to serve others.

1 Peter 4:10
God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

Submitted by: Vivien, California

March 2
Christ Who Lives In Me

For those of us in the ministry, a great day can be defined by letters or messages received from returnees who want to let us know how much our ministries meant to them while they were in the United States.

Here’s one received by ISI staff, Simon, from a Japanese student he had befriended.

“When I first arrived, I attended the English speaking church and had fellowship with non-Japanese. I often couldn’t understand what the pastor was saying, and furthermore my Christian life was neglected day by day. But, then I got involved with ICF. Through ICF, I met a lot of great Christian people, and I grew in my faith. I want to say thank you to everyone! My spiritual life in Japan is going fine. I’m doing charity work at my church twice a week and the youth at our church have been increasing. I’m also in the praise band on Sundays. Through my experiences serving the Lord, I have learned that I want to work for returnees who became Christians in America. I don’t know how much I can do, but I can see clearly that God is at work within me now.”


Many people we meet have already become Christians but maybe they need support and fellowship. What biblical teaching and opportunities for friendship with other believers can you help provide to Christians around you?

Galatians 3:20
“I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

Submitted by: Simon, California

March 1

Philippians 4:4-9

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.
Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds
anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and
minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from
me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing.
Then the God of peace will be with you. 


When we focus our minds and hearts on Jesus, we can be filled with His joy and His peace. Allow Him to carry your burdens for you. He longs to lift them from your shoulders and He’s strong enough to do so.