American LCMS volunteers help tutor Eurasia church workers in English.
We all know that life changed when COVID appeared, including travel restrictions, quarantines and facemasks. How we work also changed, but God continues to bless our mission work in exciting new ways.
Part of my work in Prague includes helping church leaders improve their English skills so that they can connect better with other confessional Lutherans in Eurasia. This is more challenging than you might think—students are over 40 years old and didn’t learn English in a traditional classroom. Their English proficiency varies greatly, which makes it difficult to teach everyone in the same class. Yet, it is impractical to tutor individually because they work full-time with limited time off.
When I heard that short-term mission teams couldn’t serve abroad this year but could help online, I wanted to find out more. I attended a few Zoom meetings with Anne Gonzalez, DCE, manager of short-term mission training & engagement, who pilot tested a program for virtual English tutors.
Using American volunteers to help teach conversational English is wonderful for my students. Each week, I host a Zoom meeting with five students, five LCMS volunteers scattered throughout America, and my missionary co-host Rachel Krause, who is awaiting deployment to Germany. We have a theme or topic and I provide suggested questions for discussion.
After a short introduction and prayer, students get 40-45 minutes of individual tutoring with their American volunteers in breakout rooms. Rachel and I stop in each room during this time for extra help. We meet again as a group at the end of the hour and close with Luther’s evening prayer.
Connecting across the Atlantic
Some of the students and tutors have great connections. For example, our Czech church business manager works with a business professor in New York. An alliance missionary pastor works with a professor at Concordia in Seward, NE. Our Czech deacon with military experience works with a lay deacon in Virginia who is retired from the military.
I am in awe at how God has provided more than we could have imagined by blessing our church workers in Eurasia and helping with their English skills.
This month we thank God for unexpected blessings:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107:1 (ESV)