For the past few years, Mexico has been the top international travel destination for Americans, with 25.8 million crossing the border. The Dominican Republic and France were the fourth and fifth most visited countries by Americans.
Beach hopping and Eiffel Tower selfies are at the top on many bucket lists, but Americans also can find ways to seek out gospel-centered conversations during their travels abroad. If we are intentional with our time and pursue opportunities to build relationships with locals, we will recognize opportunities to proclaim the gospel, even while on holiday.
Even more opportunities exist for regular business travelers or those who have relocated for work. Large populations of American expatriates live in Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Costa Rica. More than 50,000 Americans live in the United Arab Emirates, which relies heavily on expatriate workers for its economy. In fact, only ten percent of the UAE’s population are citizens.
As Christians move overseas to broker business deals, enjoy a Caribbean retirement, or teach English, the gospel can go with them. If we look at it that way, our gospel-sharing opportunities truly are limitless.
If you’re on vacation, a business traveler, or new to a particular country, try one of these suggestions to build conversations around the gospel:
- Practice reverse hospitality: Accept any invitations into nationals’ homes. Graciously and thankfully receive their care for you. Your humility and thankfulness will open doors.
- Be a learner: Ask a local to teach you something that is important to her culture (cook a meal, play a sport, learn a song, shop for clothing, study history or arts, etc.).
- Search for bridges and barriers to the gospel: Be a good listener and observer. Look and listen for hints of God’s stories in their own. Find cultural cues that offer bridges into conversation. Note the cues that will build walls and avoid them.
Intentionality is key. Plan to use your international travel for kingdom impact, and watch as opportunities to do so follow you wherever you go.