U.S. church helps start an English center in Middle East
    July 23 2015 by Brian Andrews, IMB Connecting

    Chalk dust swirls around Joel’s* head as he writes on the board. Fruit vendor conversations outside the window accompany his students’ attempts to sound out the word he has written: H-E-L-L-O. Only 15 people can fit into the small room. The compact accommodations are sufficient for now, but Joel hopes to one day teach in a full-sized language center.
    Joel started teaching English in this small, Middle Eastern village after Carter,* a journeyman who taught English in a nearby city, became friends with Abdullah,* a student who lives here. Carter saw an opportunity to invest in Abdullah’s village through a children’s English camp. Abdullah loved this idea, so six months later a volunteer team from Carter’s home church arrived to teach English to more than 50 eager children in the village.


    Because Carter wanted the volunteers and local workers like Joel to form lasting relationships with the parents of the English students, he made an agreement with the village: If he provided teachers, the village would feed them lunch.
    So, after finishing English activities each day, volunteers from Carter’s church went in twos or threes to eat with their students’ parents, accompanied by a worker who spoke Arabic. As they visited, they shared stories from their lives and, if the parents asked, talked about their faith.
    This initial camp went so well, the village asked the team to do it again the following year. By this time Carter had returned to the U.S., so Joel coordinated the next English camp. As they began planning, Abdullah asked Joel if someone could live in the village permanently and teach English from a center there.
    Joel believes this village’s openness was a result of prayer and Carter’s efforts to build relationships.
    “This situation is a great example of how important personal relationships are to our work. None of the relationships were a coincidence or accident.”
    These relationships and the development of the English center have provided Joel and other workers many opportunities to speak into the lives of the villagers. Recently, Joel and his wife invited Abdullah and his wife to their house for dinner. Abdullah saw one of their copies of the Word, and he and his wife began reading it and asking questions. Joel pointed him to John 3 to illustrate how Jesus changes people.
    Following the success of a conversational English course, Joel’s team now offers a beginner’s English class in a small apartment-turned-classroom. However, they continue to search for more permanent facilities in which they can teach English and perhaps other subjects.
    *Name changed
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian Andrews is a writer for IMB based in the Middle East.)

    7/23/2015 11:54:39 AM by Brian Andrews, IMB Connecting | with 0 comments
    Filed under: IMB, Middle East, missions

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