Glenda Reece is the Interim Minister to Internationals at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. With multiple congregations from different cultural backgrounds, Forest Hills is accustomed to welcoming the nations who have come to Raleigh seeking their future. Reece has a long history of involvement with Internationals in the communities where she has lived and worked. It is a ministry she is zealous for and passionate about. She is as she says, “buried in this ministry.
Forest Hills offers a variety of ways to befriend and help Internationals in the Raleigh area, but English as a second language (ESL) is an area of particular expertise for Reece. She has trained many in teaching English as a second language and is the author of an ESL textbook. (See her website for more information about resources and tools she has developed.) One of the tools that Reece has perfected in her training involves using the Bible for English lessons. For Reece the relationship counts above all else and helping Internationals acquire the skills they need to adjust and adapt to their new home. The Bible offers an opportunity to share faith in a non-threatening and culturally acceptable way while aiding these newcomers.
A gentleman entered the church. He had not been in Raleigh very long and he was desperate to learn English. He made it clear to Reece at the beginning, “There is no God.” “No problem,” Reece assured him. Though the Bible would be used in the curriculum there would be no pressure or coercion in attempting to change his mind. Faithfully twice each week, the gentleman participated in the classes. As his English skills began to grow, so did a small seed of faith. At the end of the semester, he came to Reece to thank her for the opportunity to learn. Before leaving he wanted her to know, one other thing he had learned besides English: “There is a God!”
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has eight mission communities. Two of those communities would be beneficial to those who are ministering to Internationals and to those who have English as second language classes. Consider becoming a part of the Internationals Community. Connect with others who are welcoming the strangers who have come to us from other countries. Connect with folks like Reece who are ready and available to share their skills with others who have a heart for this type of ministry. You might also consider the Education Community and engage with a network that deals specifically with ESL.
The Internationals Cluster is ready and available to provide training online on a variety of subjects. If you are interested in online training regarding ESL please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for other available webinars.
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