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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 5pm & 7pm each Sunday
As many of you know, St Michael’s offers free English classes to people in our community. But what does a Tuesday morning of English classes look like? How does it remind me about God and encourage me in my faith?
Each Tuesday a dedicated group from St Michael’s comes prepared to explain the Australian culture in varying levels of English. We have groups from the most basic level to those who can easily converse in English. At 10am, a flood of people – from all over the world – enters our hall. With students from China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Gambon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Chile, Argentina and Peru, we are exposed to a wonderful variety of names, remembered with the helpful additions of name tags.
As we break into our groups, a teacher leads the day’s lesson. Students are taught a myriad of things, from asking questions and writing sentences to recounting events, at varying levels of difficulty, while using everyday Australian examples. As a helper, my role is to assist students to complete the tasks.
This often includes encouraging them. Having to repeatedly ask questions and not being able to say something without significant pauses can be embarrassing and frustrating. It is a very humbling experience not being able to communicate effectively. In our current society, where communication is instant, waiting for someone to formulate their sentences is an exercise of patience. Doing this every Tuesday reminds me of God’s patience. He waits for us to talk to Him, He waits for us to repent, He waits for us to truly give Him control of our lives. I am reminded of God’s generous patience.
But I don’t just help. Every lesson, I learn more about the people and different cultures God has created. At morning tea I am able to ask questions that paint a picture of the life of people in nations all around the world. I am astounded by God’s creation.
These people are foreigners in Australia, just as the Israelites were strangers in Egypt and Babylon, and as we Christians are foreigners in this world.
Leviticus shows that God is loving, kind and generous. He made provisions for foreigners even as He cared for His holy people. As God’s family, there is nothing that can separate us from His love. As His daughter, I am tasked with loving all people and each EFL class gives me the opportunity to reflect Christ’s love. I am constantly reminded of God’s character as I seek to be an example of Him.
Please let me encourage you to consider helping at EFL classes, either on Tuesday mornings or evenings. They are a great opportunity to serve and grow.