Contact: Debra Yarde, 434-227-0811, 434-295-6488
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 17, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- International Students Day was celebrated across the USA today in thousands of campus communities. The annual event is part of International Education Week.
Here at the University of Virginia, community members from the Operation Esther Circle began the day with a prayer breakfast and one hour "prayer walk" on the University grounds.
They offered up "walk by" and "drive by" prayers for internationals at the iconic Rotunda chapel, the International Student Center, the International Studies Office, international dorms, and campus ministries.
This year, student enrollment at universities and colleges jumped 7.1% to top one million international students for the first time. Students from overseas are contributing over $35 billion to the American economy this year per the 2016 Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education (ITE).
The Office of Homeland Security says there are over 1.2 million international students in the USA, including those in high school and other special institutions.
Debra Yarde, who is seeking to organize prayer on all 3500 colleges and universities in the USA, feels these students represent a special spiritual obligation for American Christians.
The number of students enrolled at colleges and universities continues to climb, with the largest increase coming from India. China sent 328,547 students and remains the largest single student block followed by Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada and Vietnam.
Debra Yarde, President of Operation Esther Prayer Circle, also helps local community groups and churches at nearby universities and community colleges in Harrisonburg, Orange and Richmond.
"This is the best way I know to show we care and to reach out to the social and spiritual needs of the world. Praying for and welcoming these visitors is a tangible way we can show our love – especially for Hindus, Muslims, secularists and other minorities who are threatened by ISIS and Islamic Jihad."
Most of those organizing the International Students Day of Prayer are members of the Association of Christians Ministering among Internationals. It includes campus ministries such as Bridges International, Cai Alpha, International Friendships, Inc., International Friends Meet, International Students, Inc., Intervarsity ISM, Overseas Students Mission and hundreds of local churches.
About Bill Bray, author of this news release:
Bill Bray is a 69 year old author and journalist who specializes in Christian missions, international student and university ministries. He welcomes interaction with readers about the topics he covers and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.