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Caring for International Students During the Pandemic

Updated: May 4, 2021

Caring for International Students During the Pandemic

Danny Castiglione

Each year hundreds of thousands of international students and visiting professors come to America to study and do research. We, as International Student Ministry (ISM) staff, do everything we can to love and serve them; from airport welcomes, to shopping trips, to culture lessons, to helping them find a local church. The main way that we connect with and serve international students is at meetings and gatherings, and these almost always happen in person. Just as COVID-19 has affected all areas of life for people around the globe, it has completely changed the way we do ISM.

To be honest, aside from a season when I was helping brothers and sisters who were experiencing religious persecution, the past six months have been the most difficult of my 20 years serving in ISM. At the same time, I cling to the truth that God is good and God is faithful and God is in control, and I know that we can trust this difficult season to Him. I trust that God will produce fruit and honor our faithfulness to serve Him, by doing everything we can to care for and serve international students during this challenging time. So, will you please join me in praying for international students, visiting professors, and their spouses and families?

  • Pray for local Christians and ISM staff and volunteers, that they will be able to find ways to encourage and care for the international students in their communities.

  • Pray for the online outreach efforts that are set up to love and reach international students.

  • Pray for the international students who are Christians, that their faith will grow, and that they can stay connected to other believers.

  • For our ISM at Duke, pray specifically for the students enrolled in the English Conversation Partner program and the I-Friends program. Pray for the volunteer conversation partners and the conversations they will have. And pray, that 20 more students would sign up.

  • Pray that the international students would feel peace and hope during this time of loneliness, isolation, and confusion.

  • Pray that God would soften their hearts and open their minds to the truth and the hope found only in Jesus.

I want to end with a vision of the future from Revelation 7, that our present prayers are achieving, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Thanks for your prayers!

If you are interested in learning more about ISM, please email Danny at

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