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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Being the Presence of Christ by Gwen Phillips

Being the Presence of Christ

by Gwen Phillips

Leviticus 19:33-34: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as you are native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.  

 Five years ago, several members of our church spent a weekend learning how to teach English to foreign adults and received teacher training certificates for 14 hours of training in English as a Second Language. Shortly after that, we officially began an ESL program at Second Baptist Church for anyone interested in learning English. Mostly, we have had friends from Mexico as students. However, we currently have friends from El Salvador and Guatemala. In the past, I’ve also taught women from Morocco, French-speaking Canada, Peru, and Korea. What a wonderful experience this has been for me!  The program began with nine men who worked at the Mexican restaurant on the Square. There has been much growth in their conversational English.  One friend, Leonardo, was able to promote from dishwasher in the back to server with the customers because his English improved so much!   

Over the years, we have enjoyed a variety of meaningful experiences with these new friends. Babies have been born, employment opportunities opened up. Some have returned to their homeland. One of my favorite activities has been working with mothers of little ones who want to read books to their kiddos in English. We practice reading in class, then the mom takes the book home and reads it to her child several times before returning that book for another.  I’ve been very proud of their hard work!   

Soon I will be sharing a new memory, this one with my Guatemalan friend, Lilian. Together, we studied hard on the 100 questions she needed to answer for her citizenship test and she has recently passed and completed her oral interview. This month, Lilian will go for her citizenship ceremony and she has invited me to come along. I can’t imagine the joy I will feel as she becomes a US citizen.  Lilian and her family love the Lord and continue to give thanks for this opportunity.   

Thanks to you, Second Baptist congregation, we are privileged to be the presence of Christ to friends from all around the world.    

“Treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself.”     

The world has come to us!  How can you respond to the needs of those knocking on our door?    
Posted by Terri Soper at 12:00 AM
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