She read Romans 10:9, and put her faith in Jesus
It can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack! How do you make contact with anyone who wants to know more about Christianity, in a nation of tens of millions of people? Most people here have no contact with Christians. There are probably no churches in their neighbourhoods, and they are likely fearful of the social repercussions of being seen with Christians or reading Christian printed material.
The answer lies in Bible correspondence courses. First developed in the 1960s, the courses are a way for people to find out what the Christian faith is all about. In the past advertisements for the course were placed in magazines and newspapers. Today mobile phones, creative webpages and google advertisements are used to cast the nets wide, far beyond where print can reach. Advertising on the internet has resulted in the highest numbers ever of new students writing in. The growth has been exciting.
The latest report from December 2018 says: “We sent out 1,015 packages of New Testaments and other books to enquirers. This number is an all-time record for the course. People viewed pages on our website 464,250 times in December.”
Pervin (not her name), is one who came to faith through the Bible Correspondence Course.
“As we got to know her, she told us she was done with her religion. She wanted to change.
We walked her through the gospel, letting God’s Word speak for itself. She readily admitted being a sinner, and marvelled at God’s love in sending Jesus, God’s Son, to die a terrible death for us. ‘So what must I do to be saved?’ she asked. She read Romans 10:9, and put her faith in Jesus, thanking God for His salvation. Praise God for our new sister! Pray for her as she grows in her new faith.”
At the time of the early Church God used the common Greek language and very useful Roman roads to take his message. Today, in almost every hand is a mobile phone and access to the internet. New roads for the same message.
“Christian mission is an organised effort to spread Christianity to new converts. Mission involves sending individuals and groups … across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries…” (Wikipedia)
Teaching English to Christian workers overseas has challenges. Students from some countries have been brought up under the ‘hammer of grammar’ and read and write relatively well, but at the expense of the hearing and speaking that conversation demands. Others are in the early stages of learning and need intensive support. As teachers we can’t help feeling overwhelmed when our students have such different needs and there are only two of us.
Our work fits the description above: Christian mission. We have crossed “geographical boundaries”. However, for others geography can be more than a boundary; it can be a barrier. Despite their time and ability, many people think they can’t be involved in work like ours.
“We’re too old.” “Our health problems stop us.” “I’ve retired from mission.” “We have family to care for.” “My spouse doesn’t share my vision.”
These are understandable barriers, but as we visited friends and churches we could sense people longing to be directly involved somehow.
We wondered: Could we match our students with people who wanted to help but thought they couldn’t? Could we link people to each other using something ubiquitous that crossed geographical boundaries - the internet?
It wasn’t long before we found out. Our students began chatting in English with Australian volunteers, via the internet, for about 20 minutes twice a week. With the individual support and feedback that the volunteers gave, the students’ progress became obvious. As for the volunteers themselves, they were rewarded by their students’ improvement and deepening relationships as topic after topic was explored together. The volunteers found themselves “doing mission”, but from their homes. This was the opportunity they had been looking for.
We are now making plans with a view to English teaching via the internet from our home in Queensland next year, hopeful that others will again work with us. We look forward to the possibility that our ‘virtual students’ might one day even come to Australia to consolidate and expand their English. The barriers between us have been broken down!
K & K teaching English in South East Asia.