EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.

The University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman has about 28,000 graduate and undergraduate students; more than 2,000 are internationals from at least 120 nations.

One assignment James Lee has at the OU Baptist Collegiate Ministries is to reach out to international students, with the intent that their lives will be changed by the good news.

“International students coming to study are usually top students in their countries,” Lee said. “Reaching them with the gospel influences their futures and the future of those they contact after returning.”

Lee, an Oklahoman since third grade, attended Murray State College, graduated from OU in 1994 with a degree in Science Education and Southwestern Seminary in 2018 with an M.Div. He and his family worked and ministered overseas for more than 18 years, as students, teachers, on an NGO (non-governmental organization) and doing business.

“International students have heard so much about Americans,” Lee said. “Showing them hospitality, telling them, ‘Wow, it’s really nice for you to come here,’ and caring about them, opens the door for the Gospel.

“We find that many countries that are closed to or lack a strong Gospel witness are sending students here,” Lee continued. “These students give us access to places (overseas) that are becoming difficult to get into to share the good news.”

In addition to reaching and discipling internationals, Lee also disciples American students to reach and disciple internationals, and helping American students go on short-term international trips.

“We’re making disciples to go home and do the same, “Lee said. “At this time, we believe God has called us to do this.”

Adding to his cross-cultural expertise, Lee’s wife Linda worked at the BSU (precursor to BCM) for 17 years before they moved overseas. They have two homeschooled teens.

During rare downtimes, “I fix things, build things, DIY, (do it yourself)” Lee said. “It’s a way I de-stress.”

Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP