A few years ago, when I was in another country, I had the opportunity to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to primary school teachers for a week or so. I had never done anything like it before, but really enjoyed the interaction with the students and especially the opportunity to share the gospel. There was much fruit from teaching ESL and in fact one of the students, who was not a believer at the time, now feels called to pastor! ESL is a great way for an English speaker, who doesn't know other languages, to meet and communicate with people from other countries and languages.
This summer, Josh has preached on being a missionary in our community. He wanted to provide our church with opportunities to do missions where we live. I immediately thought of ESL and Josh and the mission team agreed it would be a good time to try it. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into, but I'm learning as a I go!
Thankfully, The North American Mission Board has a book on how to start an ESL program in your church and it has been so helpful! The book has everything in it for student registration and placement testing. It suggested we do a short devotion at the beginning of the class and one of the members of the Hispanic ministry, who speaks decent English, is sharing the devotion in Spanish. I have no idea what he is saying, but I pray for those who do.
We meet on Thursday nights at 6:30pm and have met for three weeks. The first week we had six students (5 men and 1 woman), the next week we had 10 students (6 men and 4 women), and last night we had 19 students (I've lost count of men/women)! All of our students are Hispanic (there is a significant Hispanic population in our community) and they are from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, etc. Some of them know enough English to hold down a job, and a couple of the new ladies last night knew almost nothing. Thus far we have had everyone together with me as the only teacher, but that is changing after this week. With so many students at different levels, it is impossible to know if everyone is getting it or if I'm belaboring some of the curriculum for the more advanced students.
We are using the curriculum Word By Word Picture Dictionary and I really like it. The teacher's guide spells out what to do and that is very helpful. I am also supplementing with curriculum that a friend from seminary created. Right now we are just doing the basics: alphabet, personal information, numbers, time, money, etc.
If you think of it, please just pray for the Lord to use this ministry for the advancement of the gospel. Last week, our family went out to eat and we ran into (almost literally!) a student from the class, her child, and her boyfriend/husband (no one is married but they use marital words). We were able to talk to the couple for a while and the student, Senia, even asked if I would invite her to church sometime! I invited her right then, but she was unable to come on Sunday because of sickness. Please also pray for me and the other teachers to have much clarity and encouragement as we teach. I'll try to provide an update once a month on the ministry. Thanks for your prayers!