LAUREL, Md.—Jessie Liang (not her real name) earned a Ph.D. in China, but when her husband’s job moved her to the United States, she found herself starting over from scratch with her studies.
She was struggling to get by on a few basic English words when she discovered English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at First Baptist Church of Laurel, Md. There, she slowly began learning the new language, and in the process, found friends who took the time to minister to her needs.
“This class helps people who have just come to America,” she said. “It’s very nice, because you see a lot of people who can help you. You will feel kind of warm inside.”
She contrasted the warmth to the nervous feelings one gets when they are alone and left out of the conversations around them.
“You will get peace, and you won’t feel so worried,” she said.
The population of Maryland and Delaware has grown more and more diverse over the years. More than 15% of the population in Maryland consists of foreign-born individuals, and nearly 10% of the population in Delaware consists of foreign-born individuals.
Many of these individuals do not speak English fluently–but every single one of them needs to hear the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
ESL ministries not only practically serve internationals, but provide opportunities for friendship and peace. As trust grows, so do opportunities to share the Gospel.
The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware hosts two 16-hour ESL workshops designed by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (NAMB) specifically for volunteers teaching ESL in a church or ministry setting.
Workshops are offered twice a year in January and August. This training is conducted in two-part sessions. Both parts are required in order for participants to complete their ESL training
The first day of the 2020 winter workshop will be held on January 25th and the second day will be held on February 1. Both workshops will run from 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Laurel. The entire cost of the two-day conference is $25 and includes snacks and materials. Students should bring their lunches.
Prior knowledge of languages other than English is not required.
While walk-in registration will be accepted, pre-registration is preferred. Register online.
Portions of this article are from a previous BaptistLIFE article written by Shannon Baker who now serves as the director of communications at the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey.