International Women's Day happens every year of March 8th.
You see her scanning the grocery store aisles clothed in a black burka or walking on the sidewalk a few steps behind her husband wrapped in a brightly colored sari.
She is not from around here.
She from another land with another language and another culture.
Unsure of how to respond to foreigners, most Americans avoid contact. International women are left to navigate life in a new country as an outsider with few friendships with local women.
We’d kindly ask you to take a different approach. How can you respond? What could you do?
For starters, let’s embrace International Women’s Day as a day to celebrate the sacrifices and courageous acts of all women. This annual worldwide holiday started more than one hundred years ago in America and has grown in popularity across the world.
In preparation for International Women’s Day on March 8th, here are five ways you can love international women not only on this day, but also in every opportunity God provides.
1. See Them
Rather than turn away or ignore their presence, look at them. Make eye contact and smile. With that small exchange, you are sending a message that you see them, and you value them.
2. Engage Them
Even though international women are from another land and speak another language does not mean that they do not understand your greetings. Say, “hello” with a smile and watch how they respond. Ask them questions to engage in normal conversation. If you hear a foreign accent, you can ask, “where is your family from?”
3. Welcome Them
Most international women have never been welcomed in their new country. You can make a difference to receive them with love. People from middle-eastern and Mediterranean countries warmly welcome others. In many Asian cultures, people give honor and respect to outsiders. Your welcome will be well-received by women from other cultures. As you greet them, you might even ask, “how is your family adapting to this country?” This question will help you gain insight into their world and may grow compassion in you as you hear their story.
4. Value Them
Depending on how the conversation goes, you may invite them to go to coffee/tea or meet up for a meal. If you have the ability, you might open up your home to host lunch or dinner. Most international women who have been living in the United States for five years have never been invited into an American home. You can be different to make a difference.
5. Help Them
In your conversations, you may find a way to help them learn about Jesus. There is no greater way to love well then by sharing the Greatest Love Story – God’s Story of reconciliation. You may offer to read the Bible with them or share the gospel. Foreign women who arrive in the United States expect to learn about the God of this country. Do not disappoint them. Teach them about love and life of Jesus. (If they are Muslim, you can share with them that the Qur’an says the Bible is God’s Word.1)
In many countries, especially in the Majority World, women are told they have little value because of their gender. When you see and value women, you send a message that runs counter to what many cultures teach.
For this International Women’s Day, we hope and pray you reach out to the international women around you.
Allow God to work in and through you as you spread His love to a love-starved world.
1 The Qur’an calls the Bible the Word of God (kalam Allah) in Sura 2:75, the Book of God (kitab Allah) in Sura 2:101; 3:23; 5:44; 28:49, and the enlightening book in Sura 3:184.