“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-38
Christians are taught the righteousness of “loving their neighbour” (the second greatest command, according to Jesus). We teach volunteers how—specifically—to love the non-Canadian-born Newcomer who feels unsure of their English and unaccustomed to this culture.
Every year, Cooperative ESL Ministries provides training to Christian volunteers who want to welcome newcomers to Calgary. This training helps volunteers facilitate ESL classes, conversation groups, Bible studies, and Alpha courses. Annual training events include: Reaching out with English, Networking Breakfast and Spring Training.
I always believed that there must be a God. This God must know who I am, where I’m from, and where I’m going. He is the One who is in charge of the world. But I didn’t know who he was. I went to church several times in China but I had no idea about Jesus. To me, He was a mystery... After we settled down in Calgary, I was looking for an English as a Second Language (ESL) class to improve my English. My counsellor at the Immigrant Aid office introduced me to [a church] ESL class, where we met [the Pastor and ESL teachers]. They are wonderful teachers, and with their help, my English improved a lot!...
Jing Zhao, church ESL student
One of the biggest hurdles for pre-believing immigrants to overcome is that of entering a church building. One immigrant said that she has driven by the church building countless times and never imagined that she would ever enter it. She was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable she felt at the Thanksgiving Dinner event last fall. Several community immigrants who have never entered a church were astounded that our church family was hosting an International New Year Celebration that was specifically planned to make them feel welcome. They said – “But we’re not even Christians!” After attending the International New Year Celebration, one of the leading men in the visiting choir asked a believing immigrant from our church if he could join a Bible Study.
Patricia Love, Pastor of Intercultural Ministries, Foothills Alliance Church
Another very special couple, a pharmacist and a pediatrician, began coming to the church. They also attended the Bible study class and began to read the Bible diligently. They struggled with deep-rooted beliefs in atheism and evolution but God worked powerfully in their lives and they both came to faith in Christ. The husband had an immediate desire to devote his life to the Lord and share the gospel with fellow Chinese. He told us, ‘Before, I wanted to heal people’s bodies. Now I am only interested in seeing their spirits healed.’ This young man was given a scholarship from the University of Calgary and earned his master’s degree in neuroscience in 2008. He has given up that career and is now attending seminary and serving in a local Chinese church.
Janet Medd, ESL Bible Study facilitator, Beddington Pentecostal Church
Visit the Upcoming Events page to sign up for one of our upcoming training events.