Saturday with my Ukrainian Friends

Vladimir was one of my first students when I began teaching ESL in March 2000. We had fun studying together each week. One memory that stands out for me is one morning while we were studying in a coffee shop. My back was to the window, so I did not see what was happening, but Vladimir did. His eyes got real big with a look of surprise. He pointed at the window and I looked to see what was happening. The police were arresting someone. Realizing Vladimir had come from Ukraine that used to part of the old USSR and that people used to get arrested and disappear there, I changed our lesson to rights in the USA.

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Yesterday he was working outside at the church making a gazebo for them to use for barbecues. It has pillars made of stone for support. When he came in, we talked and reminisced about our study times in the past. It is always good to see him again.

My Ukrainian friends are hardworking and have made a beautiful church building. They did all of the work themselves. My Saturday class is in a nice room in the basement.

Speaking of my Saturday class, we continue to have fun studying together. Yesterday we had 18 people come. Each week I am impressed with how refugees who have only been in the USA four weeks, six weeks, etc. are being resilient. I know they have been through trauma and have a lot to adapt to here, but they have great support from the Ukrainian church.

After class, I was again blessed to have lunch. Nadia was teaching Middle School students cooking again and yesterday it was rice pilaf. It was delicious. She is wonderful with the children as she teaches them cooking.

This morning I will be with my Hispanic friends at my church. I called each of them last night. Our room will be filled with laughter, music, and Spanish as we practice English together. Then it will be time to taper down at the coffee shop.

How has your weekend been?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Phone Call Caused Nostalgia for Me

I knew it was coming sometime this year, but still when I received the call, it caused a lot of feelings of nostalgia for me. Wednesday evening the Director for ESL, English Second Language, called me to let me know she is retiring as of October 10th. She is the one who interviewed me and hired me.

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We have been through many changes together in the department. We worked on curriculum changes, starting the Family Literacy Program and more. She once referred to me as her most flexible teacher because she could call me with short notice to sub a class.

Her anticipated retirement marks a bit of a milestone for me. Over the past twenty-two years, God has opened many doors for me to share Jesus with the nations living in my city. Twenty-two years ago, I still had a landline with an answering machine. Times have changed, but Jesus never changes and he continues to give me opportunities to share his love with the nations living in my city.

Now I am the last remaining original person involved with the Family Literacy program and the longest serving person in the ESL Department. That is a scenario that perhaps no one would have seen coming thirty years ago when I was going through my first bout with autoimmune issues.

While it is nice to reminisce about what God has done over the past twenty-two years, it is the new things he has me doing that excite me. As Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

God can do new things even in what looks like a wasteland in our lives. He did it twenty-two years ago for me and continues to do so today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Student Reactions to Winter Pictures

This story time is a collaborative effort between me and Gary of garyfultz.com. You know those outdoor adventure type shows? They perhaps pale in comparison to Gary’s outdoor adventures. He lives in the far north of the USA where I think they have a few weeks of summer each year and almost endless winters. Where he lives, they can pull a shack onto a frozen lake in the winter by driving a pick up truck onto the frozen lake. I think he spends most of the winter in his ice fishing shack. 🙂

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Gary sent me pictures of his winter adventures with his family for me to have a little fun with my students. I have been showing them to my students this week. The picture above is not from Gary simply because I did not ask permission to put one in my post but if you go to his blog, you will see pictures of his outdoor adventures.

My Ukrainian students were not phased at all which was no surprise. But the looks of shock on the faces of my students from places like Mexico, Burma, Sudan and Vietnam were fun to observe.

When I asked if they wanted to go ice fishing, some responses were:

“No, I don’t want to die.”

“No, I don’t want to need the hospital.”

It was part of having fun with my students as they laughed with me. When my students laugh, it gives me joy because I know how hard life has been for them.

Laughter is a gift from God. Psalm 126:2 says


Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.

Some of my students know Jesus. Some do not. It is my heart’s desire that they all come to know Jesus and the joy of knowing him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

How I Got Started in My Ministry/My Go Fund Me

In October 1999, I was in Bucharest Romania talking with a missionary about connecting with people through teaching ESL-English Second Language. It was during that conversation that I felt led to pursue experience in teaching ESL though at the time, it was with the thought of returning to Romania full-time.

In March 2000, I had a training for teaching ESL with our local Literacy Council. I told them they could fill my mornings because I worked evenings. Within a month, I had 10 students I met with as a volunteer. That led to the Literacy Council hiring me in July 2000, which in turn led to the opportunity to teach for our local Community College in July 2001.

I was having fun exploring the many diverse cultures in my city when in 2002 while in prayer, Jesus reminded me he had a purpose for me in teaching ESL. That led to starting my first group at my church in May 2002, God opened so many doors of opportunity and blessed the work so much that my ministry went from an initial reaction of, “do we need that,” to “you can’t leave for Romania because look at what God is doing.”

I was doing ministry on my income as a part-time ESL Instructor piecing together various part-time teaching gigs and happy to do so because of what God had called me to when in 2008 my church began to support me with a monthly check. It is not a huge amount but has helped me make ends meet.

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Chronic illness got much worse about ten years ago. In the past five years, I have spent enough on doctors that I could have bought a new car.

That is my back story as to where I am today and why I started my Go Fund Me to get a different vehicle. Gary is a blogger who has been encouraging me in my endeavor. He wrote about in his post- Limited Time Offer. Please check out his post and blog.

My Go Fund Me link is- Home Missionary and Teacher Needs A Vehicle.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When God Answers :)

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop when I noticed two young women playing chess. One seemed to be teaching the other one how to play. I walked by and asked who won. The one who was learning said, “she did.” I found out they are cousins. We talked for a little bit and I found out the one teaching chess has lived in India and in Germany and has experience with learning language and a little experience teaching. She is a recent college grad who wants to be a Fullbright Scholar to teach English in a university in another country. The light went off in my head 🙂

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I needed a new assistant for my morning class that will start September 3rd. I had just prayed about it earlier that morning. I told her about it. She was interested, so I explained how to apply. I already knew I wanted her to be my assistant, but she still had to go through the process. Yesterday we interviewed her and hired her. I am so excited. I enjoy mentoring young people and seeing them gain new skills.

Sometimes God answers prayer quickly and sometimes it can seem like a slow boat. I am grateful he answered this one quickly.

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This experience was a great reminder for me of how God connects the dots for us. I went to the coffee shop at the same time my new assistant was there with her cousin. She was looking to get experience with teaching ESL because she wants to be a Fullbright Scholar teaching English in a university in August 2020. I enjoy mentoring young people. It is a good fit.

With God there is no such thing as coincidence. 🙂

A follow up to my question yesterday- Most popular was picture #2 of me with a short beard. No beard was second. However, I still think I will let it grow long for Christmas for the Santa look. Maybe I should do a drawing for which follower to embarrass by sitting next to them at their church for Christmas Eve service with a long white beard with Christmas ornaments attached. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.