When asked, “What are your biggest needs?”, any given refugee in the area will tell you, “We need jobs and we need to learn English.” RTN is seeking to help with both. While Mission 24 does provide a day job for refugees as teams come in, what about English? Beginning over the summer RTN began it’s ESL program. Meeting in a local apartment complex, RTN offers English three days a week assisting 7 language groups in the community.
Lane Coursey, semester intern with RTN leads classes as volunteers provide help with conversation and child care. Averaging about 25 adults and about that many children, the program has accelerated throughout the neighborhood. Coursey graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Georgia College and State University over the summer and has attempted to merge Health and English education. Her topics include everyday needs such as introductions, family names, basic verbs as well as topics about physical, mental, social, and emotional health. RTN has recognized the need for health education due to an increase of diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression, and social stress incoming refugees acquire in trying to adapt to their new home.
Alongside of ESL is a multi-cultural Bible Storying Study accompanied by pastors Bill Johnson, Tegga Lendado, and Anuj Kumar. RTN believes in getting the gospel to the people in their heart languages so the need for pastors who speak those languages is crucial. The Bible study is averaging more than the classes as more people come for prayer and Bible Study. Students of the ESL classes are given a Bible in English to compare to one in their language as they learn. The Bible Study has grown into two groups that meet together for prayer and singing and split for translation purposes.
RTN hopes to see more house groups emerge so as to see a Church Planting Movement across the city. In the meantime, while RTN cannot meet every need of the community it does what it can. Teaching English and teaching Christ seem to be a great start.
**RTN is looking for Bibles and volunteers for the ESL ministry. If interested in participating in the ESL ministry please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.