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Not My Thing!

Teaching English as a second language to extremely limited English speakers is, well, not my thing. Give me a church conflict, a hard, controversial question, or a difficult passage from the Bible and I’ll be right at home trying to seek out the answers. I've learned to navigate those waters. But teaching English? Those who know me well can laugh that I’m actually teaching English in Mexico (and their response, "Poor Mexicans!"). For the last 5 months I have been riding 3 kilometers on my bike to a church on the south end of town, twice a week, to offer free English classes. Admittedly, it was not my favorite gig. I actually loathed it, but I was creating relationships, engaging with those that had so little but were so kind and thoughtful. One student, a mother that brought her 8 year old daughter, (far left in picture) was extremely faithful and diligent in class. She would be prompt, stay late, help with clean up, and just loved to practice English. She always wanted my extra pages to use at home.


This week I was hit with the news that she would not be returning to my class. She told me that she had wanted to get a good job at one of the popular tourist parks but last year was rejected because of her lack of English skills. Her husband worked in the construction field and was a hard worker, but only received minimum pay. If she could get this job it would help them to move out of the extremely impoverished community they lived in (concrete floor, no furnishings, no indoor running water, etc.) and provide a brighter future for her family. Last week she took her conversational English test and passed! She was immediately hired and given a salary that will take their family out of the “Invasion” housing in the jungle and into a real community. A true life-change for the better.



She could not shower me with enough praise and gratitude, and the whole time all I could think of was how I resisted doing this because it was “not my thing.” How embarrassing! I was so overwhelmed with how we had been able to alter this family’s lives by doing something that was helpful, needed, relatively simply, and still ‘not my thing.’


I am always amazed at what God will use. This is one of my greatest weaknesses and least enjoyable exercises. I love it when God uses my unique talent, special skill, or interest. But I often forget the simple thing that He wants most – my availability. When I offer that, He can accomplish more and then He easily takes all the credit.



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