Wow! ESL Ministry PraiseMay 5, 2023 Evangelism
“Wow! ESL Ministry Praise”
We believe in the power of prayer. But I often don’t expect enough of God’s provision. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.” He rejoices that God’s power and sufficiency are greater that our requests, and surpass our understanding. I saw God’s answer to prayer at work this past Sunday night at our ESL information meeting. I had been praying for 6 people interested in training and 1 director to help administer and give leadership to this new ministry. Instead, we had 34 interested people and 4 who weren’t able to attend the meeting. Praise God!
I was so encouraged by some of the comments of those who attended the information meeting. Gwen Van Dellen writes, “We are living in a unique time in history where God is bringing the nations to us. Personally, I'm excited Harvest is starting an ESL program and to be involved in God's gathering of his family from every tribe and nation.” Melisa McGinnis also shared, “I am excited to be involved in a ministry that brings the World through our church doors for a very practical reason. Our students need something incredibly basic and we can show them the love of Jesus by providing this to them!”
Why are we taking on this new task of offering English as a Second Language classes? The purpose of ESL ministry is to share the Good News of Christ in word and deed. In Matthew 25, Jesus describes some of the characteristics of his people. These good deeds are not the basis of their salvation, but the evidence or demonstration of it:
“The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”
I’ve always been struck that the children of the kingdom respond (I am paraphrasing here), “When did this happen? We don’t even remember serving you in these ways!” It’s as if they are surprised to find out about their good deeds and they don’t understand how they could have been serving Christ. But Jesus, the King, responds that what we do unto “the least of these my brothers, you did unto me.”
The book of Hebrews requires us to “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:1-2). I am so grateful to get to serve our community in this significant way and be serving Christ as we welcome strangers who desire to learn English.
Please be praying that God would open doors so that many in our community would desire to learn English!
There was such a wonderful response to the invitation to be trained to teach ESL, that we are now planning to offer two in-person trainings. The first, June 30-July 1. The second, July 21-22. Both of these run Friday evening, and all-day Saturday. If you are interested to sign up for one of these two weekends, please send an email to ESL@harvestopc.org and we will add you to the list of those who would like more information. The training will be free, but we may encourage a free-will donation to help defray the costs. By taking the training, you are not committing to teach. It is ok to be trained and not ultimately become a teacher.
Resources recommended by Pastor Adrian…
Harvest has benefited greatly from our sister denomination’s ministry developing ESL classes. You can read more about the PCA’s (Mission to North America) page on ESL ministry here: https://pcamna.org/ministry/esl-ministries/ If you missed the ESL introduction video we played after the worship service on a Sunday night you can watch that here: https://youtu.be/-V85Vz-hUM8
“When Sinners Say, ‘I Do’: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage” by Dave Harvey. I’ve always appreciated the simple, biblical and humorous style of Dave Harvey’s teaching. He has read deeply, and teaches simply and powerfully. This book has been converted into a video teaching series and we’ll be watching two of Dave Harvey’s lessons on mercy and forgiveness in marriage during the adult and high-school Sunday school class (Sundays, May 7 & 21).
“What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)” by Nancy Guthrie. Last adult Sunday school class we watched and discussed Nancy’s wise advice for how to help a friend who has lost someone they loved. I appreciated a comment during our discussion on the fact that so much of life causes grief and loss, and this video was helpful not only for those helping the grieving, but more broadly trained us in how to love each other in very tangible and practical ways. You can access Nancy’s teaching here: https://youtu.be/hEVEB3DEK7Y