Story by Verna Stutzman

Sept 25, 2000

Teaching ESL

I love to sit in the ‘ivory towers’ of Wycliffe Bible Translators and create ‘marvelous’ software tools for Bible Translators to use all over the world, but I know that I also need to have an avenue for ministry, which allows me to ‘touch’ people. Since returning from PNG, Robert and I have tried a number of different ministries: door-to-door evangelism, street ministry in the ‘red-light’ district of Deep Ellum in Dallas, and prison outreach. However, when the opportunity to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) as an outreach in one of our local churches presented itself; I knew that was the ministry for me.

Every Thursday night, I teach English to a class of Hispanics at Church of the King. I use a Bible-based curriculum. Amazingly, most of the students have never heard the familiar Bible stories of Joseph, Noah, or Ruth.

Last year in one of the classes, I was having students practice the following conversation:

Person A: What kind of work do you do? Person B: I am a ____________.
Person A: What does a __________ do? Person B: A __________ does _____________.

All of us were taking turns being Person A or B. When it was my turn to be Person B, I said, “I am a computer programmer”.

Immediately, Esperansa responded, “Then you must make a lot of money”.

Letisha, my interpreter explained to her, “No, they don’t make a lot of money. They’re missionaries. They volunteer their time and God supplies their needs.”

With tears in her eyes, Esperansa turned to me, “Oh thank you for teaching us. You do it because of the spirit that’s in you.”

“The same spirit that’s in me can be in you and you and you”, I said, as I pointed to each of the students.

Suddenly, Adela grabbed my hands and put them on her head, saying something I didn’t understand.

I looked over at Letisha in bewilderment and she interpreted, “Adela wants you to pray for her. She wants what you have.”

You should have heard me pray. I prayed for salvation, healing, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, deliverance and everything else I could think of for Adela, her family, and the other students. The anointing of the Lord was so strong that night, I could hardly drive home. That experience opened the door for many of Adela’s family members to get saved. Praise the Lord!

PS This past Tuesday night another one of my students gave her heart to the Lord in the ESL class.