Teaching English and sharing God's love
By Sharon Bryant, PC(USA) mission co-worker in Thailand
Sharon Bryant was appointed as coordinator of Christian volunteers with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) in January 2011. She helps place volunteer English teachers in 25 schools supported by the CCT, orienting and equipping the volunteers, visiting them and the schools regularly, and ensuring the overall smooth functioning of the Christian Volunteers Thailand Program. By expanding English offerings, the CCT hopes to strengthen the church’s witness as it gives Thai students an important tool for success in academia and international commerce. Sharon learned to love Thailand while growing up there as the child of Presbyterian missionaries.
“It will be like a tsunami,” says Ajarn Thanom Pinta, director of the Office of the Education Ministry of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), speaking of the flood of English that will immerse Thailand when ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) opens its borders to form a union in 2015. “We are not prepared for it, and we desperately need more English-speaking Christian volunteers to serve as English teachers.” I am tasked with finding these volunteers for the 26 Christian schools of the CCT. The need is critical.
Many of these schools were started by Presbyterian missionaries more than 100 years ago to teach literacy and to offer a Christian education to Thai children. Even today, more than half of the 60,000 students who attend CCT schools are not Christian. The teachers in these Christian schools have the opportunity to share their faith and help these Thai children learn about Jesus Christ.
In the 50 years since the first volunteer arrived in Thailand, thousands of Thai children have learned of the love and grace of God through those who come to teach English. Many of those children now are the leaders of the church today—pastors, teachers, evangelists, and officers. And those volunteers who have come to serve have been blessed as much as those they serve, for they return home with a new heart for mission and eyes opened to the challenges faced by those who do not know Christ and by those who serve Christ in this predominantly Buddhist nation.
Let us pray
Gracious God, thank you for the volunteers you have called to share your love with the children of Thailand. May each seed that they plant blossom into wondrous ministries of your church, bringing your light and your love to each corner of this land. For we ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.
Call to discipleship
If you, or someone you know from your congregation, small group, or Sunday School class would like to prayerfully consider answering God’s call to go and make disciples, consider becoming a volunteer English teacher in Thailand. Visit www
.teachingenglishinthailand.org or contact Mienda Uriarte, area coordinator for Asia at email@example.com for details.