Written by Lynn Crenshaw
How many people who belong to, or attend, First Christian Church, are aware of the tremendous ministry that is a part of this church’s outreach to refugees who have come here from all over the world? Did you know that some 150 students from all over the world fill five of our classrooms each morning, Monday through Thursday, coming together to learn how to read, write, and speak English? They might be from different cultures and speak different languages, but they have in common a need to learn how to communicate in English, and adapt to the culture that is here in the United States. And many of them bring their pre-school-aged children with them, and First Christian provides care by our quality child-care givers. In turn, these children are also learning how to speak English, and get along with other children, each of whom comes from a different culture and with different language skills.
This month, YOU have an opportunity to become involved with these students. Our Outreach Committee has decided that November’s fifth Sunday offering will be given to the ESL program, to provide gifts at Christmas. That will be received this week, on November 30. However, if you are not prepared to give that today, please feel to give when you are able. And, depending on how much money is received, this will provide gifts for both the children who are here each day, and maybe even for their parents who are English Language students. It is one way we can show them that we are thankful for their presence in our building, and the hopes they have for their new lives here in Iowa.
In return, we have an invitation for you. On Thursday, December 18, which is the last day of classes for this semester, the ESL classes will be holding a “Cultural Day”, and they would love to have FCC members and friends present. You will be able to hear some students sing songs from their native lands, or provide other cultural opportunities to share. You may not be able to understand the words that are used, but you will be able to sense the meaning behind those words. Also, many students will wear clothing that is typical of the clothing worn in their homeland. And many will be bringing food that they are accustomed to. It will be a time for true celebration. And, since this will be the last day of class before the break, we will be giving gifts to the students from you, from our Fifth Sunday offering.
The time on December 18 is from 9:30 to at least 11:30 – maybe even longer, depending on how much is shared. You will find it very worth your while to make the attempt to be here, to see all the smiles, and a few tears, as the joy of being in this land of hope is shared with everyone.
Member, First Christian Church