Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our Last ESL Class

When we moved here in August, we had the privilege of joining and eventually taking over an adult ESL (English as a Second Language) class taught by our friend Sarah at a low-income apartment complex in town called Shady Oaks. The class has grown through these last months and now has two different learning levels with anywhere from 3-8 students. Now that we are moving, we have unfortunately not been able to find anyone to take over this crucial work.

Good Neighbors is the program that started it all. Terri and her friend, Ros, had extra bread from a different service outing, and decided to stop by to see if they could give bread away to anyone at Shady Oaks. Their only problem was that neither of them could speak Spanish and no one at Shady Oaks could speak English, but that proved to be a minor obstacle as they continued to return every other Saturday with the phrase, "¿Quieres pan?" and a Spanish Bible verse. Good Neighbors is now a full blown ministry serving around 38 families with groceries and 48 men with lunches every other Saturday, apart from the regular clothing, toys, and housing good donations that they receive. Regular volunteers from our church and elsewhere contribute the food items and the man power every other week, interspersed with assistance from CCCC small groups taking part in a "Go Opp" or missional service activity.

In addition to the weekly ESL Class that we have there, they recently began a Tuesday night Bible Study with youth and adults that, "gracias a Dios," has already seen some fruit. Terri originally wanted to have it for the youth to connect with each other and Christ but the adults said they wanted to learn too, so now she tries to make it work with either one of the kids translating or a bilingual friend coming along with her. A few weeks ago we were ecstatic to hear that a mom and her 11 year old son prayed to give their lives to Christ, now Terri has the opportunity to disciple them. Terri has been praying for youth from our church to be able to connect with Shady Oaks youth at this Bible Study, and is praying for any help (bilingual or otherwise) that she can get.

Wherever you are, whatever your situation in life, I want to challenge you to serve wholeheartedly in your community. One missional service activity every so often is a good start, but as you grow in love for Christ let it overflow into a heart for a certain area of service. If your group is going to serve once a quarter or once a month, serve consistently at the same ministry so that your fellowship with those you serve can grow, and you can put yourself in a better position to share the saving Gospel of Christ with your new friends there that are perishing. For what other reason are we serving? To put a check in our "feel good" box of good works? By no means! We are serving for the main purpose of developing relationships in order to preach Christ to those that are desperately in need of a Savior (just as we once were and still are, let us not forget). At this community where the physical needs of the people often speak the loudest, it is a challenge to remember that our desire to meet their physical needs should be overshadowed by a compelling passion for their one great spiritual need to be met.

It is so hard for Giulian and I to leave without having someone to take over our class, but we are trusting in our Sovereign Lord who loves these people way more than we ever could to take care of it. Now I could write on and on about this because I am sold out for this cause, but I'll let the videos and pictures that I've included tell the rest of the story. If you'd like to know more about Good Neighbors, send me an email.

Thanks for your partnership,

I'm translating the letter at right that the little boy and his family gave Good Neighbors at our Christmas Party. To see the translation, click the "Good Neighbors" link above.


  1. Wow! you guys are all done there. I'm sure it was sad but I hope the party was fun & memorable.Loved those videos. Felix looked like fun!

  2. You are so right! We are the true hands and feet of Christ in the world, and we need to leave our footprints in the communities where we are placed- and where God has lead our feet to travel at this time in our lives!

  3. Amazing stuff guys!! Your ready to change the world!!