Cassie Roberts (CEO)
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 final instalment of this 3-part series, Catalin and Rebekah, part of the Unreached team at Redeemer Church, share two stories of people they’ve met through their English Conversation Group at ODILS.
Stories of Sharing Jesus
After a few months of praying for workers to be added to the newly formed Redeemer Unreached team and for the Holy Spirit to adjust our attitudes and make our hearts sensitive to the needs of the nations that God brought on our doorstep, we were joined by a Christian family from South Sudan with a special call in evangelistic ministry, AS and NS.
Being refugees themselves and learning English at ODILS, they found it easy to get acquainted and befriend people that have moved to Plymouth from the same geographical area as them. As we had just started using English Conversation Groups as a platform to befriend, live out loud and witness the Gospel, MA and his wife, AA, from South Sudan also joined our group with the desire to practise and improve their English. Being part of conversations about marriage, culture, and traditions, has given them the chance to share their lives with us as we share ours with them.
AA has been a believer for some time and has been attending church on Zoom in her own mother language, but her husband, raised and initiated in a local tribe, had been ‘sitting on the fence’ for a long time, avoiding making a decision for Jesus. With AS and NS visiting them, offering friendship and community, a sense of belonging started to develop. With the team displaying Christian love and affection to them, MA found it quite easy to integrate into the newly formed friendship; after all, we are all about integration.
As we were praying for him, we felt that there was so much pain associated to his past. After one of our conversation groups, we asked him aside and suggested to pray for the pain. The conversation flowed quickly to asking him if he would trust his life to Jesus and accept Him as his Lord and Saviour – trust Him with his life. That evening MA decided for Jesus and chose to forever follow the Lord.
The friendship continues in that we now hold Bible studies in his home, continue to share our lives and grow together in loving the Lord. The transformation has been so drastic that AA, his wife, said of her husband that ‘he is totally changed, he is even washing the dishes.’ He no longer has nightmares, the pain has eased, he is able to rest and has a peace about him that Jesus has it all under His care; and he smiles so much more than the first time we met him.
IS was brought up in an Islamic country but no longer identifies as being a Muslim. We met at Conversation Group and have since become good friends – occasionally going out for walks, coffee dates and meeting for dinner. When we were out for coffee one afternoon, she shared that she’s been through a lot of relational hurt and her heart has long been very heavy. A lot of what she shared broke my heart. As she was sharing, I felt the Lord nudge me to share the story of the woman caught in adultery. The story and the sin which this woman was caught in doesn’t relate to the hurt IS has been through. However, hearing about the nature and heart of Jesus for sinners and sufferers, particularly towards women, moved her. After hearing about how Jesus interacted with the Pharisees and this woman, with tears in her eyes she said, “Rebekah, next time we meet, I’d like to hear more about Jesus.”
This weekend IS and CS – another Christian friend of mine who speaks one of IS’ languages, Turkish – met for dinner. It was so humbling for me to be in the room with them as they were speaking in their mutual language. After dinner we read a portion of Luke together. CS brought IS a Turkish Bible, so we were able to read scripture in two different languages. Again, this was incredibly humbling for me – to be listening to the two of them reading about Jesus and speaking about what they’d just read in Turkish and for me to not understand a word they were saying! But I loved every minute of it, and it is such an honour to know IS and others from Conversation Group. I pray, as we continue to do life together and spend time in God’s word, that He would be glorified. That the person and heart of Jesus would captivate her own heart. That the Holy Spirit would reveal Him to be her Friend, Shepherd, Saviour, King and lover of her soul. And, that one day she would receive Him for all that He is.
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.