SERVING IN: Mobile, AL / International
MINISTRY FOCUS: Missional Community / Discipleship
Did you know that of the 6,600+ unreached people groups, 6,205 of those people groups come from a part of the world often referred to as the “10/40 window”? This particular lat/long window contains approximately 3.12 billion people, meaning that almost the entire population of “unreached” people in the world come from this 10/40 window. Most nations within this 10/40 window have proven themselves to be very difficult places for missionaries to access, let alone obtain visas long enough to dwell among the people and make disciples.
Did you know that nearly all international students are from the 10/40 window and belong to an unreached people group? The top three sending countries are China, India, and Saudi Arabia. Other top contenders include Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Kuwait. Over one million international students and scholars study in the US each year! Future world leaders study in the US, including Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian president), Mohamed Morsi (former Egyptian president), and Sayyib Qutb (“father” of Islamic fundamentalism). The influence of these leaders could be for good or for bad. A Japanese person is 30 times more likely to become a Christian outside of Japan than in Japan. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of international students do not have close American friends. 75% of international students will never enter an American home while in the United States, and 80% of international students will never enter an American church while in the United States! Would you help to change these statistics?
Chris, Whitney, Addie, Emma, Dorothy Mae and Frannie Lawson were serving in Thailand before COVID, but while stuck in the States with no way of returning to Thailand, they began asking the Lord how they could reach the nations, build community, and make disciples here. They were connected with an organization called Friends of Internationals, which is based out of Mobile, Alabama and is partnered with the University of South Alabama as well as the city of Mobile. Friends of Internationals is a missional community of Christians seeking to build loving relationships with people from all over the world who are living in the vicinity of Mobile, Alabama. Friends of Internationals was founded as an organization in 1996 by Craig Walker. In July 1998, Jim & Mary Mather came to Mobile to become the directors. Since that time, the organization has evolved to include ministry beyond international students, and now extends into the lives of refugees and other internationals living in the Mobile area. The vision of Friends of Internationals is to allow people to experience the love of Christ while belonging to a community that loves them right now—“Before people can believe, they need to know they can belong!”
The Lawsons have moved to Mobile and are now seeking to make their home, family, and community a place where international students, refugees, and people from every nation can belong. They have a heart for “lifestyle” discipleship and seek to involve their entire family in all that God is doing through their sphere of influence and community. Your prayers and financial support empower them to commit themselves fully to this endeavor of creating a place of belonging and discipleship among the international students and refugees in Mobile.