Reaching the Unreached through Language.
Whether it’s teaching English to speakers of other languages or learning Arabic whilst living with and loving those in Egypt, language plays a fundamental role in serving the nations. In the second instalment of a 3-part series, Rebekah, part of the Unreached team at Redeemer Church, shares another way to serve the nations through English Conversation Groups.
Conversation Groups – Living out Loud
At the beginning of 2021, during the January lockdown, myself and a few friends from Redeemer Church started to meet to ask the Lord to guide us in how to reach the nations in Plymouth. As we were praying, we felt the Lord encouraging us to use our time in lockdown to PREPARE and be EQUIPPED. So, as we continued to meet, we decided to train, practise and pray over setting up an English Conversation Group (ECG) as a church, through our partnership with ODILS in Plymouth.
ECGs are one way to use language to engage with the nations. During ECGs somebody will choose to briefly share, explore and pull apart a topic or a story which is then used as the basis for conversation. These groups offer people from other nations in Plymouth the opportunity to practise speaking English. Conversation topics can be anything from sleep to compassion, music to beauty, culture to justice. From something concrete and surface level to something a little deeper and abstract. Through even the most surface level of topics, such as ‘work’ people are able to share their experiences, views, values, beliefs and ask questions to those in their group. And at times I find it so funny how conversations can start in one place and lead somewhere completely different!
As well as practicing English, ECGs are great places for people to come together and make new friends. Redeemer’s ECG started in July 2021 and we recently re-launched for the academic year. It’s been so wonderful to be meeting with old and new friends, and I’ve been incredibly enriched by being in the room because of the diversity of cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles of those who choose to join us every week. From Sri Lanka to Spain, Iran to Romania, South Sudan to the UK, it’s amazing how God has brought the nations to our doorstep. Every week I feel so blessed to be able to meet and be friends with people from all over the world.
As we, followers of Jesus, do life with our friends from conversation group, His name and renown are the desire of our hearts. We long for the Lord to use us. For Him to work in and through us to make His love and salvation known to the nations. So, during ECG and other times where we meet with our friends, we like to ‘live out loud’. To be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our conversations and follow His leading to speak transparently, naturally, and openly about Jesus. For example, during
a conversation on nature, one might feel led to share “walking along the coast and being outdoors really refreshes me and I can’t help praising God for the beauty
in His creation!” It’s in these moments where we prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal people of peace to us – people who are open to having spiritual conversations.
The Lord has been and continues to be faithful to us as we take opportunities to speak of Him and to reflect His character, His love and His kingdom. In the next and final post of this series, we’ll share stories of His faithfulness. Of how Jesus is moving in the hearts and lives of those we’ve met at ECG, as we step out in faith to speak of and magnify Him.
If you’d like to hear more or would like to set up your own ECG, we’d love to talk with you.
ODILS is a Christian-based language school in Plymouth which serves asylum seekers, refugees and marginalized people groups through the teaching of English. As well as reaching and loving the nations God has brought to our doorstep, ODILS also trains and equips Jesus-followers to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). If you have a heart for the nations, in the UK or overseas, our CertTESOL course is a wonderful tool to reach the nations across cultures and languages. To find out more, please visit our Odils Equip website.