Testimony by Deanna B

Posted by West End Presbyterian Church on

I’m proof that you don’t need to have a teaching certificate, or experience in order to volunteer with ESL.

Before joining the ESL ministry last fall my only experience was meeting with Japanese women for
“conversational English” when we lived in the metro Detroit area.

This is so much more than that. It is both exhilarating and terrifying in the best possible ways.
(think roller coaster here folks.)

You may be wondering:
In leading the class of beginners, did I always feel confident or do it correctly? No.
Did I mess up telling the stories some times? You betcha. (humility growing experiences abound lol)
But did I do my best? Yes, and each week we learned and grew together.

Thanks to the prayers and support from the ESL team I kept at it. Through storying I learned from
Eveylne Cubahiro and Christine Morobe how to speak when I am afraid and things began to shift.
If I, who knew the language felt this way, how must those seeking to learn it feel?
And that is how I approached each learner. We played games, talked about their lives, sang songs and
through it all I encouraged them to speak “loudly” with the voice God had given them.

In our culture, we tend to want “results” reach goals and achieve. But what I have learned from these
lovely folks is that it’s about taking the time and cultivating relationships.
And isn’t that just what Jesus teaches?

As I have listened with both my ears and my heart, I have learned how to love better those that do not
believe as I do. To share my faith and pray for each of them using the stories from the bible.
To be vulnerable and not get wrapped up in doing things perfectly, but instead, consistently bringing what
I have and letting God use it.

It has given me a fresh perspective and appreciation for those who may have never learned to read or
write in their native language, but now have the opportunity to learn english.

Their courage to step out has encouraged and challenged me to step out as well.

So, if you are interested in discovering a road filled with surprises, joy and challenges that grow you and
help others, this is a good place to start that journey.
All that’s required is an open heart and a teachable spirit.

Deanna B.