A major part of what we try to do as missionaries is work ourselves out of a job. Our goal is to train up nationals so serve other nationals. Ideally, we can prepare them well enough that they can take over the ministry and serve their own culture better than we ever could.
To that end, Mike started using his best English student, Ramón, as an assistant English teacher. Mike taught Ramón last semester and Ramón is back and really wants to work on his conversational English. New to English class this semester is Lorenzo, who is also quite advanced in English. So, while Mike teaches the 8-12 other students the basics, Ramón and Lorenzo have conversations in English. Mike walks over every few minutes to correct their pronunciation and grammar.
Erin has also been able to enlist three national nurses to help her at her mobile medical clinics. The nurses volunteer their time to help their own people, and at the same time learn a new skill set they would not otherwise receive.
Pray for the Lord to send us more nationals with whom we can train to serve members of their own community.
On Thursday Mike administered an English exam to eight students at our IBCP seminary. This concluded a three-month long English class Mike has been teaching. The students of the course were both our seminary students and members of the community. The English course served two purposes for the seminary: 1) prepare the seminary students for this mandatory biblical English exam, and, 2) serve as an outreach to the surrounding community.
The exam was a one-hour reading comprehension test. The students were required to read 1 1/2 pages in English and then respond to 10 questions (in Spanish) about what they had just read.
The four weekly English classes averaged 10 students, but had as many 30 in attendance. Beginning in February Mike will start teaching the class again and administer the exam again in May.
On Monday Mike and James hosted the end of the session reward dinner for our English class. The class was 10-weeks long and every student who attended eight or more classes and passed all of their oral exams received a reward dinner with their teachers. Twenty-five students graduated and attended the dinner.
For 10-weeks Mike and James taught the students vocabulary, common phrases, verb tenses and how to read Bible passages. At the end of each class each student had to pass an oral exam on the topics taught that day.
Honduras has a near 30% unemployment rate and the average Honduran has 6.1 years of education. Any skill or trait that can help set a person apart from other job applicants can make that person more desirable for a job. Our 25 students now poses just such a trait.
The weekly class typically has 30-35 student, but these 25 showed a great desire to improve themselves and practice.
On Monday we taught our weekly English class in Armenia Bonito. Thirty students, young and old, attended. Our weekly English classes are a wonderful way for the students to learn a skill and set themselves apart in the job market. The Honduran unemployment rate continues to hover near 30%. This means that competition for even the most menial job is high. Any skill a person has that will set them apart from other applicants is beneficial and speaking English is a coveted ability.
For us, the teachers, we are afforded the opportunity to benefit the students. But, we are also given the chance to build and strengthen dozens of relationships. As we spend time with the students we earn the right dive into their personal lives. Our familiarity with the students affords us opportunities to have personal discussions on life, future and faith.
This week we studied the days of the week, months of the year, questions (who, what, when, etc.) and we worked on reading John 4:46-54. Each student took an oral exam after class.
The 19-person short-term mission team from Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church of Lexington, NC is serving with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. Our team has been very blessed by their service.
On Monday morning the team put on a medical clinic that served the StreetKids we work with in our Peter Project. The group treated 31 people in all. At the same time the non-medical missionaries helped move dirt for our new medical clinic in our downtown ministry center. In the afternoon the team helped us teach an English class to 35 students.
On Tuesday morning the mission team helped us do construction on our ministry center in Armenia Bonito. They also put on a medical clinic that treated 40 patients. In the afternoon they helped us teach two Kids Clubs.
If you would like to follow what Meadowview Reformed is up to this week keep checking back to this blog or follow us on Twitter.