This Tuesday night we kicked off our first ELL class for Spanish speakers in Madison (right down the road from our headquarters). This opportunity arose after we facilitated Camp Skillz for this same community—a low income mobile home community predominantly occupied by Hispanic immigrants. Towards the end of camp several campers asked Rafael Reyes (their Camp Director) if we could teach their mothers English. It was a request that was prayed about and considered and now, fulfilled! Our first night, we walked into a room full of eager Spanish speaking adults, ready to learn.
The group primarily consisted of women, particularly mothers, from four different countries (Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela). Many of them have been here for 15+ years and know little to no English. Can you imagine living in another country for that long and being unable to communicate in the dominant language? This opportunity is going to change their lives.
Rafael Reyes was the main facilitator for this introductory class. He had the entire room laughing as he shared stories from his own experience moving to the US as a teenager and the difficulties he faced (and overcame) learning English. Rafa has a wonderful way of making people feel comfortable and relaxed, two major keys to language learning. It also helps that he already proved his character and heart to them, having spent the entire summer with their kids.
Our two main instructors, Natalie Musche and John Edmondson, shared (in Spanish) about their excitement for this class. Myself and several other volunteers (Max Alvarez, Anna Hastings, Jess Woody, Sara Giguere, Alyssa Kurtz, John Brown) also introduced ourselves and assisted in the initial language assessments. What started out as a quiet room full of adults ended with lots of questions, laughter and excitement.
Please be praying for this opportunity as we serve these individuals in this capacity. It is such a need, and yet one that we can easily meet.
Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”