By Shirley Smith
1 Corinthians 13
Close your eyes and picture yourself in a new country, no family, new customs, a different grocery store with unknown food items, and a new language. People are rushing and talking all around you, but you only recognize a few words. This is such a scary, uncomfortable feeling for so many people new to our city.
This past January, Woodland began a new mission adventure—English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults. ESL began with approximately 20 students. We are now blessed to have close to 50 adult students from 16 countries.
Our congregation is so blessed. Many Woodland members have taken on this mission. I am one of the privileged teachers. This is truly an ecumenical ministry as we have some teachers from the community.
Our students have taught us so many wonderful lessons. These students are so dedicated. They come to class for 3 hours a day, 4 mornings a week and some also attend night classes. In their previous lives, these students have been doctors, physical therapists, fashion designers, chefs, technology experts, nurses, and even one woman owned a motorcycle shop.
It doesn’t matter what country, gender, or religion. These adults display great respect and love for each other and for their teachers. The love can be seen through the help they offer one another, the sharing of life stories, and the sharing of food from their countries. They live the love described in I Corinthians 13. As you are around these students, you will hear their laughter, see their passion for learning, and their compassion for each other.
During this special time of year, many of these students are so far from family members. Please take time to read I Corinthians 13 and seek out these new faces. Let these special people enter your life. Share your Christ love with these strangers. They may be angels among us!