17th December - Non-native English speakers

For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit.

Corinthians 14:2

Students - there are over 2.3 million of them in the United Kingdom, of which around 430 thousand are international. Almost 20% of students are from other countries, yet how many students do we interact with on a day-to-day scale, and what proportion of those are international?

As a child growing up overseas, and with two very hospitable parents, the door was always open to all. We didn't just have visitors who were from the country we were in, but from all over the world - I remember games evenings with students from all parts of Africa, China, America, and elsewhere. Many of these were students who had travelled from all over the world, arrived in a country they'd never been to before, with a language some of them barely knew, and been welcomed and included by the group my parents had set up. Whether Christian or not (most were Christians by the time they left!), the comfort they felt from being welcomed and included was obvious to all. So why doesn't it happen here in England? Why is it that internationals are so often left to their own devices, and sometimes even ostracised as we assume that the cultural/language differences are too great to overcome? Yes, they may find some things hard to understand, and we may sometimes struggle to comprehend where they're coming from, but did Jesus not come for all people in all nations, us and them included? Are we not saved because Christ died once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that we may know God?

Josh Green is a student and a regular churchgoer in Durham. His parents are overseas missionaries.

Daily prayer

Lord God, we thank you that you loved us so much that you sent your son to die for us all. Help us to reach out to all who don't know you, particularly to internationals this Christmas time. We pray especially for those staying in the UK who will be away from their family for the holidays, that they may not feel lonely or anxious but the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding.


Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.