Monday, February 21, 2011

Diego, et al.

Last week my ESL class had three Diegos. This simplified the task of learning names. But two of the Diegos did not speak English, which made instruction difficult.

Fortunately, I've mastered a few Spanish phrases over the years. When I worked at a restaurant with two Joses, I often muttered Con Permiso. As I understand, the words roughly translate: "Please let me pass, I have a hot plate of chicken in my hands." I also learned to state my name and ask for another for his. The Joses called me Timerbly. As I understand, the moniker roughly translates: "A girly-boy named Tim."

For the past few years, our church offers weekly ESL classes to stay-at-home parents. Most of them are moms. Many bring their infants and pre-school aged children. Several of them are named Diego. Because my estimable Job Description requires me to teach adults Bible (as a Second Language) on Sunday mornings, I seize the opportunity to teach children on Wednesdays.

While this small ministry may not resolve any border disputes or immigration problems, it certainly models redemption in a culture gripped by fear and politics. It provides a learning community for isolated mothers. It gives them a voice in a foreign country. It gives pastors a chance to work with kids and learn names.

Teaching language (English or Bible) and learning names is a worthy vocation.

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