Bethel ESL, SSL (Prosser)
This last spring, we finished our sixth year of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes here at Bethel Prosser. This volunteer-led program has evolved to include United States Citizenship Preparation classes in both English and Spanish, and Spanish as Second Language (SSL) classes.
We now have 15-20 volunteers who give of their time to make the lives of those in our community better. They work hard to keep the program not just educational, but relational. Both inside and outside the classroom they teach, feed, pray for and love on students so that they may see Christ. It would be easier for them to show up, teach the lesson and go home, but we know that is not what God intended with this program when He laid it on our hearts.
We have had many students pass through our program over the years. Typically, they come to class after working long hours in the field with hopes of learning the language of this country they now call home. They want to learn because they desire the ability to attend their children’s conferences and understand, to get a better job, or to feel more comfortable navigating everyday American life. Whatever their reason, we know God has sent them here to learn with us. So, we teach, feed, pray for and love on them.
Three years ago, one such student, we will call her Ana, entered into our ESL program along with her children looking tired and sad. We love pouring into Ana’s kids on Wednesday nights. Our programs have always offered childcare, believing it's important to our students’ success. Most families come hungry and in need of love, and Ana’s kids were no different.
Last winter during the snow, Ana, like many of our students, could not work. One evening, we noticed a few things out of the norm for her, and felt led to ask a few questions. One volunteer spoke with Ana and learned they had no food in the house and no diapers, as well as other items. The girls, who usually ate at school, were not able to because of school cancellations.
Our volunteers moved into action, not only donating but also networking. One shared with their small group the next evening and soon, the need was met… exceedingly and abundantly, more than we could hope or ask for. Ana was blessed! She heard the gospel, she saw the gospel, and her heart is softening. We will continue to pray for her and the girls. God is moving in their lives and in the lives of many of our students.
Another one of our Citizenship students brought his older son who needed one-on-one supervision. We were faced with the question: Do we send them away or meet the need?
We met the need and by the end of March, we had nine students coming to our newly formed Middle School class. We never expected to have a middle school ministry as part of our ESL/SSL/Citizenship program, but it seemed that God thought we needed one this year.
And as God does, He provided. One of our volunteers teaches at the Middle School and another is a para-professional. They stepped in and did a fabulous job mentoring, sharing the gospel, and even building rockets with the kids. They launched them at our year-end celebration.
When we started this program we never envisioned what it would look like today! If you want to take part in this exciting ministry, email Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org
) for more information. No Spanish required. All you need is a willingness to step out in faith and see how God can use you to teach, feed, pray for and love on others.