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ESL Bible Opens Up a Whole New World

Posted On: 12/5/2016 1:02 PM

The ESL Bible class is a unique part of our International Program as AACS. At AACS we are committed to sharing the love of Jesus with our students.  This is also an important part of our international student ministry, requiring different challenges than for our domestic students.  The ESL Bible class is where it all starts.  In 2015, AACS began offering ESL (English as a Second Language) Bible course for our first year international students.  The ESL Bible class offers these first year English-language learners a safe place to ask some of their unique questions about the Bible and about the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In ESL Bible, students begin with the very basics.  They learn how to approach the Bible as both a collection of varied texts written by many authors many years ago, and a spiritual text with a divine Author who continues to speak through it to every reader.  Our ESL Bible teacher, Susan Cole says “In many ways, I think it's probably less challenging to teach the Bible to people who have never heard it before than it is to teach it to those who have been studying it their whole lives.  The stories are new and exciting and surprising for these students in a way that they aren't for kids who have grown up with them.”  Mrs. Cole says that “through their comments and questions, the international students have opened my eyes to the Bible in whole new ways as they wonder aloud why God would put up with and even bless disobedient people who don't fully trust him. I am awed by God's grace and mercy all over again as I read through Genesis with my students, knowing that all of it points to Jesus: God so loved this broken world that He would give his only son to die to pay the penalty for our sins, Jesus would rise victorious over sin and death, providing an eternal hope for us.”  She also said that their questions remind her that the Bible is full of miracles, that to believe it requires faith, that God pursues and loves people that reject him over and over again, and that there is hope. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news!

Our Sophomore and Junior Bible teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, says “The year of ESL Bible leveled the playing field and each international student seems to be confident in their understanding of how the narrative flows.”  Mrs. Reynolds says that the most common questions she encounter sfrom our ESL students are, “Is this all real?” and “Why would God do that?” These are great questions because it gives God a chance to answer!

AACS international student Zihan commented, “I didn't know very much about Christianity before I came to United States. Studying in regular Bible was challenging for me both with language and culture.  ESL Bible is a great class that actually introduced me to the Christian world and it prepared me well for senior bible.”  Bella Choi, who is a current Junior says “ESL is a very interesting class. It gives me a brand new perspective on Christianity. Mrs. Cole is a great teacher who could lead us through discussion and reading. I have learned a lot from this class!”

The ESL Bible class functions as that entry point to learning about the story of salvation throughout the whole Bible. This class offers a missionary opportunity for students to engage in the story of Jesus and begin to ask deeper spiritual questions.  We pray that from this class, international students grow in confidence that they can understand the Bible’s message and that they recognize the voice of the one true God speaking to them personally from its pages. It is our prayer that the Word of God also becomes a lamp to their feet and a light for their path.

Written By David San, AACS Senior and International Student 

If you are interested in participating in our international ministry by being a host family to one of our students, please contact Bethany Thornton at Bthornton@aacsonline.org.

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