Monday, September 12, 2011

Is God Working in El Sendero? Part Three

English Teaching and Gospel Sharing:
How one helps us do the other...

El Sendero hosts a Spotlight club every Wednesday night. Spotlight is an international program that helps students of English practice their listening and speaking skills.

It also allows us to share with them truths from the Bible in a non-confrontative manner.

So, I thought I would walk you through one of our meetings to give you a glimpse into how the club works, and how God is using it to reach into the lives and hearts of young people in Loja.

We start each of our meetings with a short introduction and a simple question.
This gets the students warmed up with English sentence structure.

This particular meeting we asked them to introduce themselves and say how long they have studied English
“Hi, my name is Becka, and I have been studying English my whole life. I am a native speaker.”
“Hi my name is Cesar, and I have been studying English for 5 years. I am an advanced student.”
“Hola, me llamo Carlos, y no puedo hablar ingles.”

After we introduced ourselves, the group of students listened to a Spotlight broadcast about the miners in Chili, and what had become of their lives after they had been rescued. Many of the Chilean miners are traveling around the world to spread a message of hope.

After a time of discussing new vocabulary words, we broke into small groups.

I had three ladies in my group. We talked about what we had heard and read through some discussion questions. Including one that asked which of the following was more important, world unity or faith in God.

Somehow we got off track and the girls began to discuss self-faith. One girl boldly stated that without having faith in ones self, you would be doomed in any crisis. She gave an example of when she had been in an earthquake and was frantic and not thinking clearly. “I had no faith in myself” she declared. “I could have died from my crazy behavior”. She continued on, “In Japan, so many people survived because they were calm. They had such great faith in themselves.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but am so glad that I was interrupted by another young girl in the group. Carmita has been attending a Bible Study at El Sendero with Ruth, another SIM missionary and the Spotlight leader. Carmita replied, “I have suffered before. I know that there is a suffering that is so bad it makes death seem good. I have suffered so badly that I have wanted to die. Faith in myself meant nothing. Because, if you suffer and do not have faith in God, there is no peace. Not even in death.”

And that is how the gospel of Jesus Christ was heard on that one Wednesday night as I helped a group of students study English.

It’s just one story. Every time we meet the gospel is heard, shared, and discussed. Once a week. At least 3 groups sometimes more. Between 10 and 30 students. Every week.
God’s great news of salvation is told and many times received.

From these discussions, Bible studies are formed. Students begin to ask questions, they ask for books to read, and they begin to meet with us one-on-one to seek further what the Bible has to say to them.

Helping them to learn English is meeting a physical need but by meeting that physical need, God has thrown open the doors for us to meet such a yearning desire to know His Word!

God is working in El Sendero.

Carmita and Kimberly. Carmita began studying the Bible with Kim, a short-term missionary who worked at El Sendero and with the Spotlight ministry. After Kim returned to California, Carmita continued to study with Ruth. She is a strong believer and is bold in sharing her faith during Spotlight Clubs.

Will you pray for Spotlight? Pray that God will continue to provide weekly opportunities to share the gospel. Pray that He sends more volunteers. Pray that the University students will continue to come back even though their contact will be leaving for a short term trip back to the US.

Pray for Mark and Ruth Lans, missionaries from Colorado who are an integral part of the English ministry. They are returning to the states for two months to care for Ruth's mother after a hip replacement surgery.

Pray for Becka as she leads and teaches during these two months (She is normally a small group discussion leader, but will be doing all the leading during this time). Pray that she is guided by the Holy Spirit as she chooses the Scripture to read and as she writes the discussion questions.

Pray that more students will be drawn to studying the scriptures through individual Bible studies.

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