Just about a week ago (mid-june), we were headed to the airport to pick up three visitors who were ready to serve in foreign soil: Arturo, Tracy and Brenda. They were trained by LST (Let’s Start Talking) a program that equips English speaking Christians to travel abroad to teach English to the community. One week later, our LST program is going on at full speed at the School of the Bible here in Recife.
A lot of work has put into this event and we were blessed to have four mission minded people come on board. We asked an extra member to join the group, Lauren, who has been in Recife for a longer period and has helped the program meet the large demand for Bible based English lessons. Tracy recently wrote a report on her first week here. I always find it refreshing to hear about the work from a different perspective. Here is Tracy’s report:
Here goes another adventure with Let’s Start Talking, this year in northeastern Brazil. Brenda Ashby and I connected with Art Martinez in Recife on Saturday, June 16. The pre-preparation for this project had been well-orchestrated by Josh Pruitt, our missionary host at the Boa Vista (which translated means Good View) congregation in downtown Recife. He and the School of the Bible director, Regis, has contacted prospective English conversation readers through Facebook and visits to a national training center where English classes are held. Over 70 interested folks came to the information meeting held Saturday evening to hear about the School of the Bible and sign up for reading sessions with us. At least half of those people had never been to the School of the Bible so that was exciting in itself. I ended up giving preference to those who were willing to pair up or triple up for a reading sessions to take care of a larger number.
We enjoyed attending an ongoing English Bible class on Sunday morning where their normal numbers tripled. We sat in a beautiful garden located at the back of the church building until we needed to scoot under the gazebo when it began to rain. Several prospective readers came. We were introduced to the congregation of about 150 during worship. Josh preached that morning on “Time for God”. There are a number of “mixed” marriages, with Brazilians married to English speakers, so Brenda had opportunities to visit even though we were in a non-English-speaking country.
We enjoyed lunch with Josh’s parents, Aureni and Mike Pruitt, veteran missionaries in Recife. They arranged very hospitable families for us to live with during the month we are here. Interestingly, we live within a triangle of each other so go together to the School of the Bible/church building each work day. Marly and Ricardo Santos are our host couple. Their young adult daughter, Fernanda, and 1-year-old grandson, Lucas, also live in the apartment. We got presented towels monogrammed with our names yesterday. Over the top hospitality for sure!
We’ve had two days of reading sessions. Our schedule is the following “routine”: morning devotional before 10am, two sessions before noon, break for lunch and paperwork catchup, four sessions until 6pm, supper break and two sessions until 9pm. Probably half the students know about the LST project from Facebook! The personnel at the School of the Bible really facilitate the warm reception of the readers. Brenda has a meeting-style room. Art and I have adequate children’s classrooms – all with air conditioners. Luxury!
A quick comment or two: Several readers were part of the LST project in another neighborhood of Recife in 2011 so they know my “Energizer Bunny” 2010 LST teammate, Marcia Leech, from the Rio project. Two of my pairs of readers didn’t even know each other but were willing to join so they could have a reading slot. My group of three has been classmates in an English course for three years and work quite well together. As I fill out the Reader Information Page (RIP) on each person, I find out interesting facts about their profession, family, and religion. Then I tell them to ask me questions about myself. They want to know some interesting requests. Usually it leads me to show my pictures of my family and my life.
Well, I started this news last night and am finishing it this morning. I better get ready for Day #3 of readers and adventures in Recife. Thanks for joining me!