Since David and I arrived in Lviv, the students have shamefully been requesting (demanding) that we begin an English Club. They explained to us that is the way new students find their way to the student center. David and I asked our leadership team and others if new students couldn’t find their way to us by their personal invitation or other forms of evangelism? They looked at us like we had just fallen from the sky.
David nor I wanted to take on this task. We speak English, we don’t teach it. They are asking us questions using words I haven’t heard since 8th grade English, from Mrs. Roberts to be exact. We have put them off, drug our feet, pleaded ignorance and these creative ways of stalling are no deterrent for a determined Ukrainian. In September, I finally said “OK, I’ll do it, but you all (our leadership team) must come sometimes in order to interact with these new people.
They agreed. I looked at the calendar and said I could get in two lessons before we were off to America for training. They thought that this was not a great idea, and therefore allowed me to postpone the beginning date of our club until the end of October. Saved again. Upon our return, the city was being shut down due to the flu quarantine, and I thought, RELIEF! I can wait three more weeks. The students however, thought, “What better way to kick off a quarantine?”
So three Sundays ago we began our Molod Do Isusa English Club. We only had three students attend, and they were all Molod Do Isysa students. I will take the blame for that. We’ll say the advertising might have been lacking or maybe absent. However, by week two we were up to 17 students, and we had five new students at Pilgrims on Thursday (with a total of 29). Last night at our third English Club we had 18, with 6 of them being new. Four of them are signed up already to come to our Thanksgiving celebration next weekend.
So I guess our leadership team is allowed to say “I told you so” when they kept explaining how important it was for us to begin an English Club. We sit around, play get to know you games, read articles and then talk about the meanings of words and phrased, and we end with a listening exercise. I am reading a small Piece of Blue Like Jazz every Sunday that they listen to and then answer questions about it.
Who knew this would be such an attraction? Coming from a country where parents have to pull teeth to ensure their children are doing their language homework to a country where they are seeking out practice on the weekends? It is still sometimes mind blowing, but then I remember some of these students look at languages as their escape from their current circumstances. It might enable them to get a better job or possibly even work in another country.
We are not encouraging people to leave, and I hate to see them go, but I am glad I can provide a useful service, and they in turn are introduced to our organization and Christ.