missionary teaching English

Teaching English and sharing the Gospel

Shouts ring out in unison in the classroom: “Long jump!! Short jump!! High jump!!” Each shout is preceded by an orange-shirted, slack-wearing, black-haired Chinese man, otherwise known as yours truly, jumping from side to side. “Great!” I say, with only a little breath in my lungs. “Now who can tell me what the adverbs are?” An enthusiastic, tall and kind-faced student simultaneously raises his arm and speaks out, “Long, short, and high!” I smile at the class. “That’s correct! Now who can tell me why?” A few more voices ring out, but the familiar enthusiastic voice dominates them all, “Because they change the verb!!” I smile back over to the student beaming at me, his arm a flagpole in the classroom air.

For two days this week we are teaching English at a Kamaiya school while taking the opportunities that arise to share the gospel. The Kamaiya people group in Nepal have a long history of indentured servitude dating back to the 17th century. They were under bonded labor for so long that their very name “kamaiya” means “slave” in Nepali. Although they were liberated in 2001, there were many problems that arose from it. Their lack of education kept them in poverty and led them to be particularly susceptible to being trafficked.

In another classroom at the neighboring building, an angelic cacophony of children scream out with big smiles, “MEOW! WOOF! BAA!” as Kristen points at cartoony animals drawn with great detail and precision on the whiteboard. Simpler activities have been prepared for the younger children, among them the English names of animals, family members, as well as a plethora of crafts, action songs and games.

Finally, as the long day draws to a close, the students gather back together to hear Alyssa speak.

The white collared shirts and forest green slacks and skirts all seemed to blend together from my vantage point at the back of the cramped, paint-chipped, dusty-floored classroom. A hundred plus pairs of eyes all look forward to Alyssa. She holds a collection of colored paper: black, red, white, green, yellow. Holding out the black paper she begins, “The black represents sin, which separates us from God…”

Sharing the gospel was our main goal over the two days spent with the students. We shared through things such as the wordless book, Bible stories like the prodigal son, and passages such as Matthew 7:24-27, which teach to build your house on the truth of God’s Word.

At the end of the second day we gave out notebooks, pencils, pens and other school supplies, along with a Nepali Bible all wrapped up in colorful foil wrapping paper. I am confident that the seeds we planted during our short time with the students will bear fruit. It was a blessing to be able to teach them and share God with them.