One of my colleagues approached me some time ago. As a young American, he and his friends were talking with students at a major university in a very sensitive country. They were having great conversations with the local young people, but he concluded that the locals were only really talking to them because they were American, rather than because they were interested in the content of the conversations. Their conversations were all about America, and not about God and what God did for those students through Jesus. So, he was wondering how to meet local people and start conversations with them without revealing that he was an American.
Here’s what you could do if you find yourself in a similar situation – your local team can promote our EveryStudent.com website at the university (available in many languages). The local students can then go to the website, explore the Biblical answers to questions about life, faith, God, Jesus, creation, and relationships. The students can easily ask questions about these subjects by filling in an on-line form. Your team can then start communicating by e-mail with the students without revealing that they are from another country.
Finally, when the time is right and the conversation is focused on the right issues, arrange to meet the local students and talk face-to-face. By this time, the real conversation has started, and the cultural differences will be less of a distraction. Speaking as someone who has been on the other side of the fence – talking with Americans only to find out that they haven’t listened to a word of what I’ve said, just how I’ve said it (my accent); I can sympathise with the plight of this young man!!
~ Anonymous Guest Post