Changing Lives through ESL [September Prayer Focus]

An ESL teacher teaches students starting with the English alphabet.
Teaching English as a second language gives missionaries opportunities to build relationships with their students and show them the love of Christ.

Okay, picture this: You’re on a bus crowded with people. You’ve had a long day and you just want to get home. You’re minding your own business, but the bus is so crowded that people keep bumping into you. 

You’ve taken all you can when all of the sudden, someone steps on your foot. You cry out in pain and grab your toes.

Now you’re faced with a choice: You can either scream and yell a few choice words at your attacker, or you can slowly put your foot back on the ground and put a smile on your face.

The natural reaction for most of us is probably the former. Not long ago, it would have been Lenka’s reaction too. But that was before she took an ESL class that changed her life.

You see, Lenka lives in Ukraine and wanted to learn to speak English. So she signed up for an ESL club offered by TEAM missionary, Samantha. Through this simple class, Samantha and Lenka formed a close relationship, and Samantha got to share the Gospel with Lenka. 

Lenka enthusiastically accepted Christ, and Samantha sees a deep change in her.

“[Lenka] devours Scripture and has so many questions, but the coolest thing I’ve noticed about her faith is how quick she is to share it with others and to apply what she believes to how she lives,” Samantha says. That includes smiling at the stranger who stepped on her foot. 

This month, please join us in praying for ESL ministries that are opening the door for people to hear the Gospel all around the world! Keep reading for specific ways you can pray. 

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1. Pray for teacher-student relationships that lead to discipleship.

A student goes into class to meet with her teacher

Of course, missionaries who teach ESL want their students to learn English, but their main objective is building relationships and making disciples.

Because ESL is such a great need around the world, English-speakers have unprecedented opportunities to go almost anywhere to teach ESL. For Christians, this means ESL is an avenue to build relationships with people in places all over the world and show them the love of Christ. 

One missionary working with ESL in Southeast Asia says, “We use ESL as a platform. We want them to learn English of course, but our main goal and prayer is first, that we form real and meaningful relationships and second, that those relationships lead to disciple making.”

ESL ministries seek to teach people English, but their main priority is spreading the love of Christ around the world.

Pray that teachers will be able to form deep relationships with their students and have opportunities to share the Gospel. Pray that students will be receptive to hearing and believing in the Gospel.

2. Pray for endurance for ESL students.

There’s no doubt that learning a second language is hard. Even native English speakers know there are a lot of confusing parts about their language. This can lead to frustration and exhaustion for students trying to learn. 

A teacher reads to her class full of children eager to learn.

Learning a new language is hard, no matter what age you are. It takes a lot of hard work from both students and teachers.

Students take ESL courses for all kinds of reasons. It can help people get jobs, adapt to new environments and even form relationships. 

Pray that God will give students endurance in their studies so that they can learn and use the language. Pray that teachers will know how to teach in a way the students can understand, and pray that teachers will be able to clearly answer any questions they have.

3. Ask God to raise up people passionate about teaching English and spreading the Gospel.

Non-English speaking countries are looking for qualified ESL teachers to come and teach. This means ESL teachers have access to countries and places that may otherwise be difficult to reach. “ESL is such a great way to meet a felt need and a way to holistically express how Christians are different,” Samantha says. 

Since ESL is such a huge opportunity to share the Gospel with people, it’s important to have competent, passionate teachers to do the job. And there are many open opportunities for those who are willing. 

Pray that God will put a passion in people’s hearts for ESL ministries. Pray that these people will recognize God’s call on their lives and follow it. 

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! Click here to get a print-out of this month’s Prayer Focus requests and praise reports

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TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission

TEAM partners with the Global Church in sending disciples who make disciples and establish missional reproducing churches to the glory of God.

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