The Mission Toolkit: English Camps
No matter where I've traveled the world - Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East, etc., I've noticed that everyone wants to learn or practice English. Some of my ministry friends have seen great fruit in starting simple English classes in their homes that evolved into full English Centers where students eventually became believers and then local pastors and leaders through these classes. It's a very holistic way to bless people. A few years ago, we formed an ESL Curriculum Team to start developing our own curriculum that we have now used to teach on our trips in the form of English Camps. It has multiple Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels and it includes very practical lessons, activities and games as well as a conversation practice section. We have a holistic approach where we touch on practical matters as well as spiritual and emotional issues. We've now had the privilege of conducting these camps in diverse locations such as Rwanda, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
ESL Class In the non-Christianized world, we've been able to work with Hindus, Mslms, Buddhists and Taoists and we've had an amazing response. It gives us a unique opportunity to spend multiple hours a day for a week working with people from all these diverse religious backgrounds. It allows us to form natural friendships and gives us a platform for sharing our testimonies and our ideas together in a friendly environment. Many students never met a Christian so they would ask us many questions about our faith that they were always curious about. One young man asked me a number of questions in private about what the Bible says on a variety of important issues. In another case, I was able to share what the Bible said about forgiveness with one of our students who was an Imam and we discussed it together like old friends. In some countries, like Haiti and the Dominican Republic, many of the students recognized how valuable learning English would be for their future and were enthusiastic about the classes. For example, some told us that when they go for job interviews, employers immediately ask how well they speak English. Some students said that they didn't think they were capable of learning English, but they felt empowered by our sessions and realized that they could do this if they worked at it. They subsequently signed up at longer term English Centers. Others said that our classes were more helpful than the English classes that they paid money for. In our conversation practice sections, we discussed concepts like Forgiveness and Love and where we were allowed, we would end classes in mini-prayer meetings where we prayed together regarding people that we needed to forgive or whatever issues were brought up by the students. During our graduation ceremonies, many students would talk more about what they learned about forgiveness or love than the actual English lessons. The English Camp has become a valuable tool in our overall approach to our Mission. We're looking to teach practical skills as well as spiritual truths. If you have a teaching background, this is a great way to exercise your vocational skill and talent for the Kingdom. If you don't have any teaching experience, the beauty of an English Camp is that you can be very helpful just in conversation practice with students. There's a role for everyone. Blessings, Pastor Park