Program for non-native English teachers has sent graduates into 32 countries to engage the unreached

J.B. served for 17 years on church-planting teams in Southeast Asia. More than a decade ago, the Lord led her to begin equipping Kingdom-focused global workers by teaching five-week intensive TESOL certificate courses. In her ministry, which draws students from many nations, she gets to experience firsthand why we are Better Together.

Q. Please describe your ministry.

A. I work with a team in Southeast Asia to equip excellent English speakers how to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Q. Why is this a strategic ministry?

A. Our graduates teach English in many and varied contexts around the world. This opens doors for them to share the gospel with the unreached.

Q. Where do your students come from?

A. We have had students from 27 different countries — including from several restricted access nations.

Q. Where do they go on to serve, and in what types of ministry?

A. They have gone to serve in 32 different countries. They primarily engage their communities through teaching English and church planting.

Q. Your work shows that English-language ministry is not limited to native English speakers. What gave you the idea to equip non-native-English speakers to do English-language ministry?

A. Non-native English speakers are often better English teachers than native speakers are, according to second language classroom research. Most of those who ask us for training are considered non-native speakers, and they desire to be equipped for ministry with this tool.

Q. What are the challenges of this ministry?

A. There is a set schedule for the courses, a set syllabus, and fixed guidelines for practicums and other requirements. The frustrations come when national holidays interrupt the schedule and promises from the practicum hosts are not kept.

Q. What have been some of the joys?

A. We rejoice at each one who earns the TESOL certificate. We also rejoice for those who audit the course, knowing the Lord will use them, too. The greatest joy is when we hear of graduates who have led some of their contacts to the Lord.

Q. How does this ministry support the idea that when engaged in Harvest work, we are Better Together?

A. Our last course included students from 10 nations and faculty from four nations, two of which were not represented in the student body, for a total of 12 nations working together. We learn so much from one another! We learn about customs, the situations of Christians in various settings, approaches to ministry, etc. We also enjoy foods from various countries! No one nationality could accomplish all that the Lord does through us working together.

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