We wrapped up our second semester of teaching Languages for the Nations, an English as a Second Language (ESL) program hosted by our church, First Baptist Euless. Anyone who reads my blog knows that teaching in this program has become my absolute favorite thing to do.
But before I get started, I wanted you to see my class to get an understanding of our international flair. Pictured below is my beginner’s class, filled with students from Togo (West Africa), Ivory Coast (West Africa), El Salvador, Mexico, and Guinea (West Africa), and my fabulous co-teacher Haley (I bet you can pick her out). Not pictured are my students from Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan, and Venezuela.
These are some of the kindest, big-hearted people you’ll ever meet. And brave – you have to be brave to leave your country, your extended family, and everything you know to make a life in a new country. Many of our students are political or religious refugees who came here because it was the only safe option for their family, and now they must learn English so they can find jobs and make friends and make a new life here.
But we don’t just teach them English so they can find work, although it’s the number one predictor of whether or not they will make it in the U.S. No, we teach them English so we can build relationships with them and share Jesus with folks who literally have no idea who Jesus is.
And guess what. God has done a huge work in our little ministry this year
. I just found out yesterday that three of our former students are going to be baptized at our church in a few weeks. Another from this semester has accepted Christ. Two more have started attending our church services regularly, making new friends and becoming part of our church community.
And all because they stumbled across our little English program, made a few friends, learned that they are loved, and saw that our church wanted to invest in them.
If you’re keeping track, that makes five. Five people who have discovered Jesus, all because they decided to try out a free English class.
To our friends and family who have prayed along with us – THANK YOU. Please don’t stop. Please pray for our students as they’re on their own this summer, and pray that they’ll come back to us in the fall, with hearts wide open to hear the gospel.
And since you’ve walked along with me through this journey, I thought I’d share pictures of our beloved students from our end-of-the-semester party. It turns out that people from every nation and culture love a good party.
Some of our students friends from Egypt.
From Poland (and Michelle, on the right, one of our intermediate teachers)
From Mexico, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, and Togo
Our pastor, John Meador, sharing the gospel with our students. It was so kind of him to come meet our students and share the story of how he had to learn to communicate after losing his hearing, much like they are learning to communicate now.
The best part… the food.
Our beginner class
My beginner class wanted a picture with my dad, who came to the party to meet everybody. I think he fit right in, don’t you?
Amy (in the black jacket) and her advanced class.
And finally, here’s our teachers, who sacrificed one night a week for the past semester to teach – for free – and who also prayed for and loved on our students, drove them to church when needed, and were just all-around all stars. (Not pictured is our dear friend Andrea who was out of town but definitely a huge part of our team.)
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself between now and September when we start back. Rest is good, I have to remind myself.
And, a special thank you to our church’s Spanish ministry, which has been a fantastic partner with us and has been the place we could send our Spanish-speaking students who wanted to take the next step and try out church. They’re the ones who have taken our students, ripe for Jesus, and given them a community to grow and thrive and learn more about the gospel. It’s no coincidence that all five of our students who have accepted the gospel and are going to be baptized are in that Spanish ministry. God is doing some really cool things over there, and I’m happy that I can be a small part of it, even though I can’t speak a word of Spanish.
God can use anybody, even a girl who almost flunked her foreign language classes in college.