- That the US is now the third largest Spanish speaking country in the world and close to being the second over Spain?
- That the Chicago has more Polish people living there than Warsaw?
- That in 2014, 1 in 5 US residents did not speak English at home?
For some of you, those are irritating statistics and you want to send all these people home!But in terms of the great commission, this is a great opportunity for us. Click To Tweet
But in terms of the great commission, this is a great opportunity for us. We don’t all have to raise support, learn a new language, adjust to a new culture and move far, far away! Believe me, it sounds way more glamorous and fun than it really is.
We simply need to be hospitable. Whether we have the “gift” of hospitality or not. Welcoming people who are aliens and foreigners in our country is the ultimate act of hospitality. It has nothing to do with political policy.Welcoming people who are aliens and foreigners in our country is the ultimate act of hospitality. Click To Tweet
I speak from experience when I tell you that there is nothing more difficult than moving to a country where you speak little or none of the language and you can’t express yourself.
I was in 9th grade when my parents moved to Costa Rica. They spoke Spanish because they had been missionaries in Bolivia when we were babies. But at age 4 when we returned, I remembered practically none.
Other MK’s were more comfortable telling their funniest jokes in Spanish, talking often in Spanglish at best. Church was all Spanish. I could figure some of it out by following in an English Bible. But to say I felt odd and weird is an understatement! At an age when a person already feels odd and weird!
Fast forward to today…we have all these people in the US for whatever reason, from all over the world. We have been told to reach out to them as ambassadors of the Kingdom of GOD haven’t we?
Consider the following:
We are ambassadors for Christ, we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Click To Tweet
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God,
who through Christ reconciled us to himself
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,
not counting their trespasses against them,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,
God making his appeal through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Corinthians 5:17-21
In our role as ambassadors in our own country, I think we need to see ourselves as ambassadors of GOD’s kingdom…the eternal one. The one that will never end! No matter who is president, no matter which party is in power, the Kingdom we represent is never going to end!
(And I am by no means denigrating the power we have as voters!)
So while they are here, we are to represent GOD’s kingdom here on earth and one way we do that is to help those who are visiting or are new to our country feel loved both by us as well as the love of Christ.
Basic hospitality is one way to show our encouragement
Hospitality, whether it is in our home or church is certainly one way…and an important way, as we get to know at least one family or some international students from another culture. They benefit of course, but so do we and our children.
They learn about new foods and cultures. They learn the intricacies of the English language and culture. They learn about Jesus, sometimes for the first time, through us!
But there is another way to help. It is teaching them to either speak English or speak it better than they do now.
Another way is through ESL classes
There are classes that often churches provide called ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. They are offered for people with a mixture of native languages. No translating is offered or needed.
The teachers of the classes need some training but do not need to be either trained teachers or be able to speak another language. The main requirement for them is that they love people and love Jesus.
Many churches/denominations are offering training for these classes. I’m sure training is available from other sources as well. Our small denomination has training opportunities available here. They are usually open for others beside simply our group.
I’m told the Southern Baptists have a great ESL program training available. I just had a hard time finding it. If someone finds it, I’ll be glad to put the link here.
I’ll also be glad to link any other training links you can recommend.
Have you considered what it would be like for the first English speaking friends of a non-English speaking person in the US to be a Christian or a group of Christians?Have you considered what it would be like for the 1st English speaking friends of a foreigner here to be Christians? Click To Tweet
I think that may be a new way to define “friendship evangelism.”
It’s true. Times are changing. We need to change with them and watch GOD’s kingdom continue to advance!
It is very easy to be discouraged by watching the news. But we can’t watch it too much…unless we continue to read GOD’s Word!
Where is GOD asking you to be an ambassador for His kingdom?
That’s where you need to start. Often the place to start is prayer…for openings, open eyes, open ears…
After that, it will often be a small place. It won’t be big and splashy. But where it takes you? I have no idea! You will have times when you feel like you will drown. You will often be way outside your comfort zone! WAY outside.
I do know it will be an exciting adventure!
I taught ESL (to high school and middle grade students) for nine years–and I loved it! There’s always so much laughter when a group of people try to understand each other through acting things out and concentrating fully on understanding. Thank you for brining up this important topic!
it’s an idea some of us are exploring here, anita. i’ve wanted to do it for a long time but at other times in other places, i couldn’t fit it into my schedule. i think it might work this time. we’ll see.
What a thought-provoking post! I am so glad I stopped by!
Keep writing…I’m inspired, new friend 🙂
i’m glad jacqueline:) thought provoking is what i’m going for so that is good. hopefully it moves us to action. i’m working on some details now.