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Sharing Christ with International Students: “The Foreigner at our Door”

Share the love of Christ with America’s hundreds of thousands of international students

Indian-born Dr. Doug Shaw, the new President/CEO of International Students, Inc., of Colorado Springs, CO, has urged American Christians to “share the love of Christ” with America’s 662,000 international students and scholars.

In an interview, Dr. Shaw, who was once an international student, said that following the September 11 terror attack on the United States, some foreign students have come under suspicion. "This is the time that we Christians need to rise to the opportunity to share love and concern with open hearts and hands towards these students.

“I think there is a lot of pre-labeling of people; if someone is from a particular country then they must be of questionable character. That is not necessarily true. Most foreign students are the cream of the crop from their countries and they don’t have any intent of being anything but upright and honest while they are here. While it is true that a very few international students may be here for the wrong reasons, the vast majority are here with higher goals—to get an education; to climb the social and economic ladder and then to go back to their own country and improve their own people and their lifestyle.”

Dr. Shaw went on to say, "I feel that it is our privilege as Christians to befriend these students with the love of Christ, just as Jesus would if He were here and, as God provides the opportunity, we need to introduce the message of salvation through Christ to them.

“Some of them may accept Christ and become Christians and others may not, but it is important to plant a seed and to leave a Godly, Christ-like influence with them. When they go back home, some of them will be Christians and will live out their faith, and others, even if they are not Christians, we would hope would continue to be open to the Christian message and have a positive attitude toward our country.”

Friendship Evangelism

He added,

“We can’t convert anybody—that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to speak the truth in love in personal and friendship evangelism. There may well be opportunities to speak out and give an answer to the hope that is within us, but we should do so in gentleness and meekness. We are called to reflect Jesus Christ and His love, and we are called to serve humanity. That’s the posture we want to take towards the foreign students in the hope that we can plant a seed in their lives. Then, they can take that with them wherever they go and hopefully become an extension of spreading the light of the Gospel.”

Dr. Shaw said that being an international student in the United States from India has given him a closer insight into how ISI can work on the many campuses where these students are studying.

“There is a unique mindset that comes with being an international student, especially when you first arrive in the United States," he said. "You bring with you a whole set of values, background, culture, and understanding of religions. Then you find that in the U.S., things are drastically different in every respect. You have to deal with those differences, and at the same time, you are called to rise to the academic challenges. Beyond that, you have to be able to socially maneuver yourself through all kinds of mindsets and belief systems as well as negative prejudices that some have against people of other faiths and countries.”

“I feel like it is a privilege to share the love of Christ and who Jesus is with people whom God made from all different nations, backgrounds, and religions. My personal goal is to prayerfully help in the completion of the Great Commission-making disciples of all nations. ISI’s ministry plays a key role in that.”

A Wealth of Valuable Experience

Dr. Doug Shaw brings a wealth of experience to his new position at ISI. His family heritage includes a great-grandfather who was a Muslim convert to Christianity and a grandfather who was a yogi in the Himalayas of India. He considers himself the product of missionary efforts in India through churches as widely varied as German Lutheran, United Methodist, Baptist and Assemblies of God.

After growing up and receiving his initial education in Calcutta, he came to the U.S. over 33 years ago and earned both an MA and a Ph.D. at California Graduate School of Theology in Glendale, CA. His continuing education includes an emphasis in evangelism and church growth as well as missions.

Dr. Shaw’s professional experience is also varied. For seven years, he was President of a family corporation that owned three small businesses. He has served several churches in California in either interim/consultative roles or as senior pastor, having been ordained since 1974. He has been a consultant, producer and guest in various media endeavors, including television, radio and multi-media. He is the author of many articles and more than a dozen books and training manuals. In addition to these, Dr. Shaw has served several para-church ministries, including Living Bibles International, Christ for All Nations, the Joshua Project/Mission America, and Every Home for Christ. He has a heart for and extensive experience in missions. His ministry has been enriched by experience in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Far East, including several communist countries.

Also active as a layman, Dr. Shaw has served numerous community groups as an advisor, Bible study leader and Board member.

Doug Shaw is married to Susan, and they have three children, Cilicia, Kassania, and Rajeev.

Denny Schlosser is the Chairman of Schlosser Steel, Inc., of Hatfield, PA, and the Chair of ISI’s Board of Trustees. Regarding Doug Shaw’s appointment, he says, "The Board spent considerable time interviewing Doug Shaw and reviewing his qualifications. Most importantly, we spent time in prayer, both together and separately, about God’s choice for this position. We believe that Doug Shaw will bring unique talent and vision as ISI’s new President."

Will Perkins, the Vice-Chair of ISI’s Board of Trustees and Chairman of Perkins Motor City Dodge in Colorado Springs, CO, was Chair of the Search Committee responsible for finding a new ISI President.

Perkins said,

“Prior to beginning the search for our new President, the Search Committee polled the entire staff and the Board to create a profile for the man or woman that we wanted the Lord to provide. The very first time I talked by phone with Dr. Shaw it seemed to me that we had written the profile exactly for this man. The last portion of the profile was the frosting on the cake. It said that ‘it would be really great if that person had been a former international student with marketing/public relations experience.’ That was Dr. Shaw. It was fun to watch the Lord work and we are excited to have him as our new President.”

International Students, Inc. (ISI) is a 48-year-old organization, the mission of which is to share Christ’s love with international students and to equip them for effective service in cooperation with the local church and others. ISI volunteers and staff help students with such things as learning about American culture, problems that require a native speaker or someone familiar with the culture, finding an American Christian mentor in their academic discipline, and (if interested) in learning about our Creator God and the Bible.

For more information on ISI, please write to ISI, P.O. Box C, Colorado Springs, CO 80901. Phone: (719) 576-2700 or log onto their Web site at

Author: Dan Wooding. Used with permission from ASSIST News Service.