John 4:35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvest!”
Gospel conversations are waiting to be had with the millions of International travelers that visit the state of Florida every year. International travelers come to our state for vacation, education, business and often their travel itineraries are a combination of these three activities. The needs of an individual/families on vacation, a student attending a Florida university and a person on a business trip are going to vary. However, opportunities to serve our international guests are available as churches have the opportunity to be creative in ministering to internationals travelers.
Every year more and more International tourists are discovering Florida as a desirable location to spend their vacation time and resources. The latest travel data informs us that in 2019, there were over 14.5 million international tourists that spent time in our state. The length of stay of these international tourists are anywhere from several days to several months. Even the timing of these ministries will change as “winter guests” and “spring breakers” arrive in our state. Shaping and creating ministry opportunities for short-term tourists requires a vision to see the uniqueness and spiritual needs of this harvest field.
International students are constantly arriving in the state of Florida to our universities and colleges for the opportunity of receiving a higher education in the United States. In the academic year of 2019-20 it has been estimated that over 46,000 international students were attending a Florida university. Churches located in our cities which house our universities and colleges, are critical to the task of engaging these international students. We are also blessed to have the Baptist Campus Ministries located on a number of our Universities/Colleges, with the assigned task of ministering to all students. The opportunity to make a lasting spiritual impact on these international students is vital to evangelizing our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon completing their education, the majority of these international students will go back home. Our prayer and desire for these students is that they will go back home as believers that are willing to share their Jesus with the people in their native countries.
An unknown number of international business individuals come to Florida to conduct business on behalf of their companies or countries. These travelers come by planes that land in our major airports and by massive ships that set anchor in our harbor towns in Florida. An ongoing ministry for many years to International business individuals has been the Seaport Ministries. To discover more about this exciting ministry keep reading about the opportunities that are available for your church to serve these international business individuals.