The Goodness of Going

InterVarsity/USA’s Global Programs typically include opportunities for United States student participants to help students in other countries improve their English-speaking ability. They spend long hours living, working, studying, eating, and relaxing together. But for Isaac McCaslin, an accounting student from the University of Oklahoma, it was his Spanish fluency that helped him bond with his roommate during the three weeks he spent in Asia last summer.

Isaac grew up in a home where Spanish was spoken, and his roommate during the Global Program was a Spanish language major. “We spoke Spanish when we were alone with each other,” he said. “That was one of the things that made our relationship special, [and it was] another way to build trust between ourselves.”

Isaac grew up in a home where Spanish was spoken, and his roommate during the Global Program was a Spanish language major. “We spoke Spanish when we were alone with each other,” he said. “That was one of the things that made our relationship special, [and it was] another way to build trust between ourselves.”

But Isaac discovered that sharing the gospel with his roommate during the Global Program was not as easy as he thought it would be. Sure, he could talk about Jesus, as they did frequently. But sharing the love of Jesus is more than just words; it also involves deeds. “That totally changed my perspective on missions,” he said. “They have to see Jesus through you; [it’s] not just telling them that you love them.”

There was no hot water in the dorms where Isaac and his roommate were staying. In order to wash their feet every evening, as was the custom in that city, hot water had to be brought in from outside. So Isaac decided to follow the example of Jesus and serve his roommate by fetching a bowl of hot water for his feet.

“There is so much joy in serving and loving, not just preaching,” Isaac said. It was not something that he would have imagined himself doing, before the Global Program. But the impact was powerful. “My roommate said that in that culture not even your best friend would do that for you. You only do it for your parents.”

Seeing how the people of another culture serve each other, and experiencing serving another in a unique way, has changed Isaac. Since visiting local homes while on the program, his perspective on something as simple as offering a drink to a visitor is now completely different. “It’s because that’s what they always did for me,” he said. “That just reminded me of Jesus. That’s what Jesus does. Jesus is giving us everything and we don’t deserve it.”

Visiting a pagan temple was another eye-opening experience for Isaac during the Global Program. It seemed dark, depressing, and hopeless and reminded him that the only true hope for the world is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Isaac may someday return to an overseas mission field. But his Global Program experience has given him a new appreciation for international student ministry. He anticipates dedicating more of his time to serving and sharing the gospel with students who come to the United States and need to learn about the hope that is found in Jesus. 

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