I’ve had the privilege these past few years of using both of my passions and skills together. I’ve been volunteering about eight hours a week by holding free English conversation clubs at my local church. I teach in a professional manner to motivate them to come and I really help them by giving lots of English speaking practice. They are the ones who do most of the speaking – I just need to figure out decent questions to ask. No grammar teaching needed, homework correction, and almost no preparation. Yes, this is a teacher’s dream! And any advanced English speaker can do this to be able to bless both Muslims and Jesus followers alike.
What is most exciting for me is that in my three intermediate and advanced group times I use stories from the Bible to lead this Spiritual English Discovery time. Whether people are Christians or Muslims in this land, most have interest in reading the Bible.
In different groups we have already finished the book of Mark, the Sermon on the Mount, and worked through a lot of Luke and Acts. I don’t feel the need to be the one to answer all of their questions, but I try to ‘lead them to the water’ by trying to ask good questions, trying to get them to see what the Bible itself is saying and what they think about it.
The first hour is just informal conversation about whatever is on people’s minds or I pick a different topic for them to discuss. The second hour is spent by them skimming a story passage in an easy-to-read Bible for unknown vocabulary words. Then I try to have group members answer the meaning of the words themselves. Once this is done, I have them taking turns reading the passage while I correct any pronunciation mistakes. Then I give opportunities for each person to answer a series of questions by asking someone to summarize or give answers to open ended questions.
It is always a great time and I have seen all types of religious people (and those not religious) be affected by the Bible. I have seen many Muslims be quite shocked and gain a far greater respect for the Bible than ever before. We easily find ourselves having many applicable conversations about true faith from the passages. What an honour to lead this time with Muslims and believers engaged together in trying to hear the words of Jesus and what they mean for us today. The students love my groups and several have come to faith as a result, besides giving local believers an opportunity to share with their community. What a joy and witness it is to be able to benefit both the wider adult local Muslim community as well as the church community!