Connecting Refugees and Residents for Christ

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Trinity CRC in Jenison, MI, received an Ignite Grant in May 2017 to write an English learning program that is intentionally relational. Here is a brief update on how they are using the funds to be a light in their community.

Through our church plant, Strong Tower Ministries, we have come to know many Muslim refugees who do not speak English. These relationships gave our church an opportunity to meet a specific need, learning the English language.

Since receiving the grant, we have really appreciated the opportunity to work on our English program. Dr. Marcie Pyper and Laura Koning have come up with eight lessons for three levels of English language learners. We’ve been rolling out these lessons over the fall season of English classes at Strong Tower Ministries.

We meet every Saturday for two hours (from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm). We generally have anywhere from 8 to 16 English learners come to the class each week! These learners are all refugees from Eastern Africa.

Our hope is that the curriculum will be printed by April 2018. A benefit of teaching the curriculum as we have been putting it together is that we can make immediate corrections. We hope to publish hard copies of the materials but we also want to make them available online so that other churches and groups working with refugees can simply download and use them.

We have already been able to share the lessons (as an incomplete form) with an RCA church in Kalamazoo that is also developing relationships with refugees.
As was communicated in the grant, the curriculum is indeed very much relationship-based and focuses on volunteers getting to know the learners individually while encouraging them to learn according to what their needs and interests are. One fun thing that we’ve found, especially in working with the kids, is that they love to speak or read while we take a video of them with our phones and play it back for them.

Please feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions or want to learn more!

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