Tutor Training Workshop in Tulsa

December 10, 2018

9 people attended our latest tutor training workshop in Tulsa. Countries represented: Liberia, S. Africa, Tanzania and the U.S.

During the last week of November we had the opportunity to conduct a 10-hour “Tutor Training Workshop” at the headquarters of Literacy & Evangelism International. The training was held in the classroom of our “Tutor Place Dormitory.”

 

Larry Buell and I taught the workshop. Here Larry demonstrates one of five steps needed to teach a lesson in the curriculum. 

The impetus for this workshop came from a meeting in October to provide a brief training for 3 people who wanted to be tutors. John & Deedee KayKay (Liberia) and Kristy Lawson expressed the desire to teach with our Bible-content curriculum called Firm Foundations. This 87 lesson curriculum will take a person from very low literacy to a 4-5th grade reading level.

 

After the instructor models the step, learners practice in pairs taking turns as tutor and student. Following the Teaching Guide, participants quickly learn “what to do and say.”

Our workshop took place on two evenings (Nov. 27 & 29) and one morning (Dec. 1). A total of 9 people came out for the training. This included those mentioned above plus one from Tulsa, three from Miami, OK, one from Tanzania and one from S. Africa. It was a great group of people to train.

 

After practicing in pairs, volunteers can demonstrate the steps in front of the class. Here Deedee teaches the boxes to David. Although 87, David learned quickly and always had the others laughing with his humor. 

Literacy is the basis of all education. Yet sadly, 32 million adults in America (or 14% of the adult population) are functionally illiterate. The majority of these people (75%) were born in the United States while the remaining (25%) were raised in another country.

The impact of illiteracy is widespread with correlations to income level, poverty, crime, welfare and health. It is estimated that $200 billion is lost each year due to illiteracy. Often this problem is perpetuated from one generation to another.

 

Darla, Kristy and Mike drove from Miami, OK for each session. They are involved in prison ministry and will use it to teach inmates the basics of reading & writing. 

Yet the solution can be as simple as finding a tutor who can work one-on-one with a non-reader. Most libraries across the country provide help with reading and English. Here at Literacy & Evangelism we use a simple, but effective, Bible-content curriculum. Learning to teach is accomplished in a brief workshop. After training, tutors are matched with non-readers. The average time of a tutoring lesson is an hour and a half. It is a gratifying experience to help another learn to read.

 

Joel (Tanzania) wanted to experience the LEI training as a foundation for using LEI primers in other languages.  Altogether Bible-content primers are available in over 260 languages/dialects around the world. 

We want to teach people with reading difficulties how to read and write. By using a Bible-content curriculum, we also have the opportunity of helping learners read about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many have found help not only with phonics, sequencing and comprehension but also with the greatest story ever told.

 

 

 

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Training at International House of Prayer

November 12, 2018

 

 

Suzanne Garges a recent graduate of 2018 ILTI invited us to Kansas City to train some of her colleagues at IHOP. 

On Saturday November 3rd Larry Buell, Suzanne Garges and I conducted a 7 1/2 hour tutor training workshop in Kansas City. Larry and I drove up from Tulsa on Nov. 2nd to be ready for the workshop on Saturday. 13 participants from the International House of Prayer (IHOP) met in a seminar room for the training. Suzanne did a great job of promoting the training among her colleagues most of whom are serving with the “Kansas City Evangelists Fellowship.” This is one of fourteen different ministries at IHOP which includes student ministry, orphan justice center, prayer for Israel, healing rooms and college ministry to name a few.

Part of the IHOP facility which includes a large auditorium for prayer & worship, offices, seminar rooms, a bookstore and coffee shop.

 

IHOP was founded by Mike Bickel and 20 others to cry out to God in worship and prayer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. IHOP is committed to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

IHOP is also committed to the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:35-40). “One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question,’Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘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 neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

Staff is referred to as “intercessory missionaries” who reach out from a commitment to prayer and worship. There has been continuous prayer and worship 24/7 since 1999.

 

Suzanne opening the workshop with Scripture, prayer and greetings.

Our training was held in a seminar room near the bookstore. Suzanne opened the training with words of welcome, introduction to the workshop and prayer. We would use the Firm Foundations, Bible-content English primer, to train our participants. At the completion of the 7-hour course, our brothers and sisters would be able to use the curriculum to teach a person how to read/write.

In our training we focus on Lesson 1 in the primer. 5 Steps are introduced to teach each lesson. After seeing the steps modelled several times, participants practice in pairs take the role of tutor and student. Later several will demonstrate the step in front of the class. The curriculum is very straightforward. A tutor needs two pieces to teach each step: what to do and what to say. Plenty of time for practice is allotted in the training.

 

Venu practices teaching Step 3 while Maureen takes the part of a student while Larry observes. 

 

Former missionary Betty practices with her daughter. At age 95 Betty is the oldest person to attend any of our training workshops in the U.S.. We were honored to have her come.

In addition to training how to use Firm Foundations, we also cover many important subjects including: the problems of illiteracy, characteristics of the adult non-reader, history of Literacy & Evangelism, language experience approach, student assessment, Scripture & prayer, starting a church-based literacy ministry and much more.  The main emphasis however, is how to teach Firm Foundations. At the end of the day, everyone was able to teach the 5 steps needed for each lesson. We are grateful for the opportunity to train these dedicated men and women who are called to serve with the International House of Prayer.

Still smiling at the end of the day our participants successfully completed the workshop. They received certificates to signify their accomplishment. Now comes the real work – tutoring a non-reader. 

 

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” Alfred Lord Tennyson. We are reminded of the priority of prayer and its power after this visit with missionaries from the International House of Prayer. Their intense focus reminds me again of the preeminence of prayer in the New Testament. Our Lord rose “very early in the morning while it was still dark, departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mk. 1:35). He gave a model of spending time alone with God each day. If the perfect Son of God needed to spend daily time with the Father, how much more do we. Jesus also commended perseverance in prayer not just praying one time and then feeling we’ve done our duty.  “And he spake a parable unto them unto this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint.” After this he told the parable of the unjust judge and the poor woman who kept coming back to him until he granted her request.

In the Sermon on the Mount we read of that most perfect prayer which He taught the disciples. It begins with the concerns of God for His name, His kingdom and His will. Then it turns to our earthly concerns for provision, forgiveness and guidance.  I often tell people if you do not know how to pray, use these beautiful words, “Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:9-13). I believe it covers every essential concern so well.

The early church followed this example of the priority of prayer. On the Day of Pentecost after Peter’s sermon we read, “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers.” (Acts 2:42). Prayer was a daily part of their spiritual growth along with fellowship, Bible study and the Lord’s Supper. When Peter was arrested and imprisoned by Herod we read, “but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” As a result, an angel opened the doors for Peter and set him free from his captors and the prison. The resulting answer to prayer left Peter knocking at the door as the disciples could not believe he was really there. It equally perplexed Herod and the guards resulting in the death of the latter.

In his epistles, Paul often encouraged prayer for himself and the work of the Lord. “Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made know unto God” (Phil. 4:6). He also practiced what he preached. In Acts 16: we find he and Silas singing hymns and praying late into the night when they were chained in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:25).

James the brother of the Lord wrote of the importance of confession with fervent prayer, “confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that ye may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

I close with these familiar words, from II Chron. 7:14,  the promise given to Solomon at the dedication of the Temple.  “If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways , then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.”  May we too be people of prayer for ourselves, our families, our churches, our communities, our nation and the countries of this world.

 

Picture of the “praying hands” on the campus of Oral Roberts University. This famous drawing by Albrecht Durer points to the priority of prayer.

 

If you would like to attend a “tutor training workshop” (TTW) to teach literacy or English as a Second Language (ESL), please contact Bob Biederman at 918-585-3826. Additional information and resources can be found at our website https://www.literacyevangelism.org You may be especially interested in our videos which demonstrate the steps needed to teach the Firm Foundations curriculum. You can access those here: https://vimeo.com/lei/channels Simply click on “Firm Foundations” at the bottom of the screen to see the selections.

Member Nation Gathering in Ghana

October 30, 2018

The first “Member Nation” gathering took place on September 12th – 18th at the Church of Pentecost Convention Center in Gomoa Fetteh, Ghana. Over 35 people gathered for this unique event in the Central Region of Ghana. It was an amazing time!

 

 

What is a “Member Nation”?The idea began in 2012 after a meeting of Literacy & Evangelism (LEI) Directors in Tulsa, OK. Sid Rice, the Executive Director of LEI, shared the vision for expanding the mission in a strategic way. A Task Force was appointed to consider the best way to grow the work of LEI globally. We looked at the success of Partners and Literacy Ministries (PALM) in Kenya and Alfabetizacao Evangelizacao Internacional (AEI) in Brazil. We concluded that LEI incorporated in a country, with its own board, adopting essential tenets from the mission would be the best way forward. I had the privilege of chairing the Task Force to implement this vision.  The Task Force met regularly, researched options and laid a foundation for this idea. “And the Lord answered me and said,’write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.'” Hab. 2:2.

 

Posing with Dr. James Kigamwa – Managing Director of Africa – in front of a banner welcoming us to the Member Nation Gathering. 

Over the past 5 years we’ve received 7 Member Nations into the LEI family. They are: Ghana, Benin/Togo, Malawi, Nigeria, Canada, Brazil and Kenya. In addition other countries are in various stages of the application process: Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau and Angola. We are very thankful for the way God is expanding the outreach of LEI into other countries.

One important component of Member Nations is a meeting of Directors once every 4-5 years. The first gathering took place in September of this year. L&E Ghana did an outstanding job of hosting this first meeting. Both their Board of Directors and Management team worked tirelessly over the past year to handle all the logistics: venue, transportation, lodging, meals, programing & recreation. They even provided shirts and dresses for all the participants! “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister” (Heb. 6:10).

The Church of Pentecost Center surpassed all of our hopes for a meeting place. There were auditoriums to seat 5000, 3000, 500 and 200 people on the huge campus. In addition there was lodging to house and feed participants. Our group consisted of  over 35 people and we enjoyed the beautiful “Executive Block.” Each shared room had a sitting area, bedroom and bathroom in the air conditioned building. Delicious meals were also provided in the building. This was ideal for our gathering as we spent most of the day in the same building for our meetings and meals.

 

The Abraham Tetteh Nartey block was the building used for most of our activities. It was an air conditioned facility with lodging, meeting and dining rooms. 

 

Some of the 35+ participants who attended the gathering hosted by L&E Ghana. Our hosts handled all of the details even providing colorful Ghanian clothing for each one.

 

The layout of the Pentecost Convention Center. A number of other buildings were not pictured on this diagram. The large facility also had a bank, store and Bible School on the grounds.

Upon arrival we were welcomed at the airport and transported to the conference center. The following day an opening ceremony marked the official start of our gathering. Distinguished guests from the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Bible Society, the Gideons, Compassion, the Bible League and others sat with the Executive Director of LEI – Rev. Dr. Sid Rice, Africa Director – Dr. James Kigamwa and President of L&E Ghana – Rev. Samuel Lawerteh. We were excited to see the broad network of NGO’s who attended the opening ceremony.

Special guests included (left to right): – Rev. Objelua –  the representative of Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Kuwornu – Adjaottor  faculty at Kwame Nkrumah University, Rev. Seth Agitbey MD, Rev. Dr. Sid Rice Ex. Dir. of LEI and Dr. James Kigamwa Managing Director for Africa.

 

The two-hour service included several speakers, choirs from two nearby churches, literacy tutors & students and guests. Rev. Dr. Sid Rice brought greetings and gave the background to this historic gathering. He highlighted the importance of autonomy, mastery and purpose as key ingredients for the successful growth of LEI in a country. Each subsequent speaker highlighted the importance of literacy for reading the Bible, growing in faith, educational advancement and personal fulfillment. They commended the Member Nations for equipping the church to use literacy in mother tongue languages for discipleship and evangelism.

 

The 200 seat auditorium was largely full for the opening ceremony. Two choirs provided joyous music of praise to God. 

 

Literacy tutors and some of their students were special guests at the ceremony. Faithful volunteers can teach the Bible-content primers after a brief training. These are the ones who patiently teach the non readers. 

 

Some of those who attended the opening ceremony on Sept. 13th.  Lunch followed in the outdoor “summer huts” where we could visit with the special guests.

 

Three “tribal queens” were present in their full regalia. They pose with Rev. Carey Jo Johnston (Canada), Rev. Sila Nzongo (DRC), Kenyon Gerbrandt and Rev. Dr. Sid Rice.

 

In the morning we started with a devotional time before breakfast. Joseph MacCarthy, Carey Jo Johnston and I provided a brief time of inductive Bible study. This was followed by a delicious breakfast in the nearby dining hall.

Next we met for a business session. On Thursday Nat Nunoo moderated a session on “Best Practices and Successes.” Directors from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, DR Congo and Benin/Togo spoke about God’s blessing of the work in their respective countries. Later in the day Kenyon Gerbrandt gave an informative session on writing stories for prayer letters.

On Friday James Kigamwa presented a relevant topic entitled, “Funding Literacy Ministries.” In the afternoon each Member Nation shared challenges they faced. Afterward Samuel Lawerteh led in a time of intercessory prayer for each country represented.  Sid Rice presented “Strategic Initiatives” adopted by LEI in January 2018. Participants then met in small groups to discuss, brainstorm and give feedback on key points. Many shared how the process was very helpful and would be used in their own future planning. Our “business” sessions were always interspersed with enthusiastic singing and fervent prayer.

 

We listened intently to reports from the various Member Nations. There was much to rejoice about as we heard of training workshops, literacy classes, new Bible readers and conversions to Christ.

 

Dr. Melina Gallo spoke of the progress in online training which now includes: Online Tutoring, Overseas Literacy Teacher Training, Inductive Bible study and English Literacy Teacher training. 

 

Rev. Samuel Lawerteh is the President of L&E Ghana our hosts for  the week long event. Samuel assembled an outstanding board and a talented management team for the work in Ghana. 

Among the memorable reports was that of Kenya and the faithful service of James, Patrick, Joseph and others in literacy. As a result, several denominations now run their own literacy evangelism programs. We were also moved by the testimony of Titus who spoke in chapel at the ECWA seminary. After chapel Musa, Phanuel and Usman connected with Titus to form a literacy team which became a Member Nation. They showed a picture of 400 students, mostly women, who learned how to read. Many new readers are leading devotions at home, some are attending Bible school and others are going to college!

The climax of this time was when Sila reported on the literacy ministry in DRC. Over the last 30 years, 1,231,199 people learned to read with the LEI primers. Of those 80% professed faith in Christ! In addition more than 400 churches were planted using literacy. There were 8,679 teachers trained who are still active. More than 350,000 Bible content primers printed in DRC. As you can imagine, these statistics amazed everyone. But more important than even these numbers were the lessons Sila shared: don’t limit God, be guided by the Holy Spirit, stay in the perfect will of God. What a privilege to spend time with our brother from DRC!

 

 

Sila and I enjoyed a long walk around the Convention Center campus. It was a good time to talk of God’s work and share prayer requests.

 

Our ladies wore beautiful Ghanaian dresses each day. Mary (right) carried her baby on her back most of the time.  In Africa this is a very common way to transport children.

 

On Saturday we had the opportunity to take a break and visit Cape Coast Castle. This is one of 40 forts built in West Africa used to hold slaves who were then sent to America, the Caribbean and Brazil. It brought tears to our eyes thinking of the people who were enslaved, suffering and dying in cells awaiting the slave ships transporting them to a life of bondage in the Americas. As they passed through the final door of the Castle, called the “gate of no return,” we could only imagine their intense anguish and fear. It was a sobering reminder of the inhumanity inflicted on men, women and children in Africa from the 17th – 19th centuries.

 

Touring the Cape Coast Castle where slaves were held en route to the Americas. We spent an hour here learning of this tragic history from our guide.

 

This plaque commemorates a visit by President Obama  in 2009. Albert and Joao are standing in front a cell which held as many as 300 female slaves.

After a sobering trip to Cape Coast we joined brothers and sisters at Emanuel Presbyterian Church for worship on Sunday. I was given the honor of preaching at the 2-hour English service. Rev. Stephen Anafi is the pastor of this growing congregation. Although they’ve been in existence for only 29 years, yet they’ve started 54 other churches! However, they are only now completing the church building in which nearly 1000 people worship each Sunday. It was a joyful, exuberant time of song, prayer, worship and preaching. We were grateful and humbled to worship with this evangelistic congregation not far from the Pentecost Convention Center.

 

Sign outside of the Presbyterian Church in Kasoa, Ghana. The building is still under construction. They used their resources to start 54 other churches in the last 3 decades!

 

Our Member Nation participants dance up to the offering box during the English service. We looked very sharp dressed in our beautiful shirts provided by our hosts.

 

Standing with Rev. Stephen Anafi after the morning worship service. After the English service ends the Twi service begins. The majority of the congregation attends this second service.

During our business meeting we also elected a “Member Nation Council” to receive new applications and also to plan for another gathering in four years. Rev. Esther Adjetey, the recently retired Executive Director of the Abokobi Presbyterian Women’s Center, challenged us from Psa. 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” She is another distinguished member of L & E Ghana’s Board.  Esther reminded us that the Word of God gives us Light, Life, Wisdom and Joy as she challenged the Council to continue this good work of developing Member Nations in ever widening circles.

 

The Member Nation Council  consists of : Titus Turaki, myself, Ellen Adjetey-Sowah, Sid Rice and Samuel Lawerteh. We listen to a message by Rev. Esther Adjetey on the Word of God. She is a member of L & E Ghana’s exceptional Board.

 

Soon it is time to conclude our meeting and begin the long journey home. However the sweet fellowship, times of corporate worship and study, helpful training sessions and celebration of successes will continue to refresh our hearts and minds. It was fitting to hold the first Member Nation Gathering in Ghana – a nation with a rich history and noted for its hospitality. Our special thanks to all those whose prayers and financial gifts, especially the Jenkins family,  made this historic meeting possible.  We are especially grateful for the leadership of Sid Rice who continues the vision of his father to use literacy as a means of evangelism and discipleship. As we leave Ghana we do so reminded of God’s faithfulness in bringing fruit from small seeds sown in prayer and sacrifice. “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord inasmuch as ye know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (I Cor. 15:57-58).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 International Literacy Training Institute

October 8, 2018

 

This year we had 18 participants from 12 different countries. It was an amazing group of men and women who studied, played, ate and interacted for 5 weeks in Tulsa this summer. 

Our 2018 Literacy Institute ran from June 9th – July 14th. It was an amazing group of men and women who wish to us literacy/ESL in their work. We had pastors, missionaries, Christian workers and other interested people comprise our participants this year. Dr. Rebecca Foote did a great job leading the Task Force in preparing for and implementing this annual training. Preparation begins the year prior as we distribute applications those who are interested. Once completed and returned, each is reviewed by an Acceptance Committee to accept or reject the candidates. When a person is accepted, they begin to apply for a visa to attend the training. This process may take several months : getting a visa appointment, attending the interview, returning to the embassy to pick up the visa. Then the applicants must acquire transportation from their country to Tulsa and back again. It is not easy to attend the International Literacy Training Institute. For that reason we are working on an “online ILTI” which is almost complete. Check the LEI  website for the latest online training opportunities.

https://www.literacyevangelism.org/get-involved/training

 

Eric from Ghana gives a testimony during the chapel time. Each participant is given the opportunity to share his/her faith journey. 

This year we have over 75 applicants and of those 18 were accepted and able to attend the training. Our trainees came from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. It was a wonderful group who bonded quickly with each other and exhibited a passion in studies, chores and play. We are thankful for their enthusiasm which made teaching them a delight. During the 5-weeks a total of 17 instructors equipped the students with Literacy & Evangelism materials and methods. Each participant received a laptop computer which held books, videos, handouts and other data to access during the training and then take back to their country. This will be a useful tool in their literacy ministry.

17 qualified instructors taught during the ILTI. Rev. Carey Jo Johnston (center) taught primer construction. Martina (Kenya) and Angelica (Ghana) pose after an intensive class. 

 

Each morning our brothers and sisters began the day with an “inductive Bible study.” This simple method asks questions of the text. Each day a different person “facilitates” the study by asking 10 observation, 3 interpretation and 2 application questions. Many have learned this transferable method to help create Bible study materials in languages where there is little or no Christian literature. For two weeks participants focus on the epistle to the Philippians. The three remaining weeks focus on the book of Daniel. This time of Bible study sets the tone for each day. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).

Inductive Bible study begins each day. This time not only allows reflection on the Scripture but teaches a simple method of Bible study. This is especially useful in places where resources are limited. 

 

Next classes begin at 8:30 to 11:30 AM. Major components include: English Tutor Training Workshop (TTW), English as a Second Language TTW, Overseas Method & Training Teachers, Intro. to Primer Construction and Leadership. The classes are very practical in nature and designed to equip pastors, missionaries and others how to plan, implement and lead a literacy ministry. All of the Literacy & Evangelism materials have biblical content in them so as people are learning to read, they are also learning of the birth, life, death, resurrection and 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. God promises, “so shall my word be that goes out from my moutjh; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11).

Each participant receives a laptop computer with all of the books, videos, primers and other materials needed.

 

In the past students returned home with 35 lbs of books. Now everything needed is on the laptop.

 

At 11:30 each day we break for chapel. This is a precious time for worship, Scripture, prayer and testimony. At chapel we hear moving stories of conversion, call to ministry and commitment to missions. Often our students will provide accompaniment on piano, guitar and tabla. We often sing out of the hymnbook but also use a special songbook created each year by the students. “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).  The ILTI songbook is composed of music from around the world. When the speaker is finished, we lay hands on the individual and pray for God’s anointing and blessing. It sounds like the day of Pentecost when everyone intercedes in their own language.

 

Aron leads us in worship followed by an amazing story of how the Gospel came to his village from a missionary passing through the area on his way to Bhutan.

 

The ladies lift up Martina in prayer after her testimony. She will work with her husband Joseph the Director of PALM in Kenya once she retires. 

 

Lunch follows chapel and is always a welcome time. Volunteers from local churches bring this main meal of the day to our students. It is always delicious and nourishing. This past summer volunteers from 7 churches as well as several individuals brought the meals. “For God is not unjust to forget your labor of love in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister” (Heb. 6:10). Often the meal-providers stay for lunch and enjoy getting to know people other countries such as Korea, Myanmar, India, Sudan, Poland, Ukraine, Ghana, Kenya, Colombia and the U.S. All of these nations were represented at the training. They also enjoy a delicious American meal.

 

The noon meal is the main meal of the day. It is provided by local individuals and churches. Participants enjoy a variety of dishes. However rice is always a welcome dish.

 

The multi-purpose facility (Tutor Place) provides lodging, a kitchen/dining room, chapel and classroom. Thanks to our loving Dorm Manager and interns, it is truly a “home away from home.”

 

Classes continue in the afternoon. Often our courses are taught by teams. I had the privilege of leading our Firm Foundations workshop with assistance from Larry Buell and Dr. Rebecca Foote. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce a Bible-content curriculum for teaching adult literacy in English. The tutor learns 5 simple steps to teach Lesson 1. Those steps are repeated for all the subsequent lessons. Anyone who can read can teach another person (s) to read after a brief workshop. The materials will take a learner to a 4th-5th grade reading level in 87 lessons! Meeting once a week, it would take a new reader a year and a half to complete the entire curriculum.

 

Demonstrating how to teach a lesson using the “five steps.” Once mastered, these steps are repeated for every subsequent lesson. A consistent lesson format makes this possible. Students learn quickly and easily.

 

Larry Buell explains the 1 1/2 hour lesson plan used to teach reading. This includes a reading portion, writing segment and witness using Scripture, testimony and prayer.

 

Udaya and Suzanne practice teaching to master the 5 steps. Later they demonstrate their skills by teaching in front of the class. Literacy can be done one-on-one or with a teachers and a group of learners. .

 

At the conclusion of the 14- hour workshop, students must pass a practical test before receiving a certificate. Angelica displays her certificate as well as a beautiful Ghanaian outfit.

 

Following the afternoon session, each participant devotes an hour to “community living” aka “chores.” This helps keep the costs to a minimum as students help with the upkeep of the Dorm, grounds work, cleaning  and preparation of the evening meal.

While working hard during the week, Saturday is often reserved for outings, shopping, tours and enjoyment. On Sunday participants worship in area churches often visiting those represented by the meal providers. The first Sunday all students attended 1st Presbyterian Church in downtown Tulsa. The pastor briefly interviewed each student. The next Sunday we visited Kirk of the Hills Church where the students were recognized. They also had the opportunity to speak in an adult Sunday School class.

En helps clean the dining room after the noon meal. Other may help with a meal or work outside.

 

The Kirk of the Hills Church faithfully supported LEI for over 50 years. Dr. Wayne Hardy, senior pastor, poses with some students after morning worship. 

 

Soon the 5 week training draws to a close. We celebrate with a final lunch together followed by a short informal program.  This is a time for both staff and students to share about their experiences at ILTI 2018 and have fun.

 

Aron gives a final serenade of “thank you” to the staff and instructors of ILTI 2018. There were a lot of smiles and laughs as various ones spoke or entertained. 

 

In the evening a graduation program was held at Redeemer Covenant Church. Representatives of the class of 2018 reflect on their time at the training.  Dr. Tom Hoffman brought a closing challenge to our class. Two representatives spoke on behalf of the students to reflect their time at the training. Certificates were presented by Dr. Sid Rice (Executive Director) and Dr. Rebecca Foote. The evening is closed by laying hands of the participants and praying for them individually and corporately. After the hour-long program everyone is invited for refreshments and fellowship to conclude the evening.

 

Udaya shares what she learned and how she will use it upon return to her country. She and Lal also thanked LEI for the opportunity to study and learn about literacy evangelism this summer. 

 

Dr. Tom Hoffman challenges our participants to look for God to work even in the unexpected detours of life.

 

Rebecca congratulates the students on this culmination of 5-weeks. She did an outstanding job of preparing for and carrying out ILTI 2018.

 

Dr. Sid Rice congratulates the students on their successful completion of the training Institute.  He encourages each one to use the tools of literacy and ESL for God’s glory in their respective  nations. .

 

The audience is invited to come forward for the final activity. A concert of prayer rose up from the auditorium during the closing commissioning. Over the next few days we will say “goodbye” to these dear friends from around the world.

The 5 weeks passes too quickly. However the relationships, memories, materials and training will continue to impact our trainees far into the future. As each returns to his/her respective country, they do so with tools to enable them to teach people to read/write. As the non reader learns this foundational skill, they are also touched by the greatest story ever told – the message of Jesus. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).

 

Ministry in Greece

April 17, 2018

(right to left) Luciana, her husband Yorgas with Georg & Martha Ort and our guide Costas. 

Our Europe Director, Georg Ort, met a representative of an international Greek mission at a conference in Hungary. Luciana was very interested to learn that Literacy & Evangelism  (LEI) develops Bible-content primers to each people how to read/write their own language.  She serves with “Hellenic Ministries” and is heading up an educational center for the Roma people in Athens. There are over 300,000 Roma or “Gypsies” in Greece and about 10 million across Europe. The “Petalouda”  (butterfly) Center in Athens is serving these people who are often misunderstood and neglected. It is a place of education, learning and nurturing to help transform lives for the kingdom. Luciana asked the Orts for help in creating books to teach the Roma to read and write modern Greek. This is something LEI’s done in over 250 languages/dialects over the past 50 years.

One of the national symbols of Greece is the flag. It is referred to as the “blue-white” and has a cross in the corner.

The Orts invited me to lead the development of a Bible-content primer in modern Greek. This was especially exciting as I’d studied koine Greek in college and seminary. However that was a long time ago!

We worked at the “Cosmovision Center” of a mission called Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel (AMG). This beautiful facility is located near the airport. It served as our workplace during our two-week primer construction workshop. AMG is a mission which is 70 years old.  Originally it was an “American Mission to the Greeks.” Today  however, it is working in 30 countries around the globe to meet the spiritual and physical needs of people.

The Cosmovision center is a multi purpose facility located in Athens. It served as our workplace for two weeks. 

“Hellenic Ministries”  works closely with AMG. It has 12 areas of ministry  including church planting,  medical work , refugee aid, Bible distribution and a safe house to name a few.  Our Bible-content primer in modern Greek will be used to help Roma children, teens and adults learn how to read & write. The primer is called “Crossroads” and the cover will picture two lines which form a cross. The literacy program of Hellenistic Ministries will be a crossroad for many people. Not only will they learn a foundational skill (reading) which will lead to a bright future, but they will also hear the greatest message in the world (the Gospel).

 

Part of our primer construction team at the Petalouda Center. Luciana holds a sample copy of  “Crossroads” prepared for our celebration the last day of the workshop. 

 

Erini demonstrates how to teach Lesson 1 in the primer. She teaches from the picture to the word to the word part. The lesson concludes with students reading a simplified story. 

Getting to a completed primer however takes a lot of hard work, long hours, writing and re-writing. A letter count is completed before the workshop begins. This provide a working list of letters introduced by frequency. The team takes the letters and creates two “picturable” nouns and four other words. These words provide the vocabulary to write a story. As each lesson progresses, more letters and words are introduced. The stories become longer with a structured beginning, middle and ending. In addition to creating words and writing stories, we have to break words down in boxes.  There is also a Scripture reference in every lesson which the tutor will read to the student. Lesson 12 introduces the name of Jesus and there is a story about Him in every subsequent lesson.

In Book 2 we introduce 12 health and agriculture lessons. These need to be simplified and re-written with the previous vocabulary plus 12 new words per lesson. Such lessons are very important in many countries as they introduce the new reader to practical health and farming ideas. Next come the 26 simplified Bible stories – 3 from the Old Testament and 23 from the New Testament. Our team really was excited to work on the Bible stories. They can also use 21 new words in each lesson. Most of these stories revolve around the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are also some stories of individuals from the books of Acts. Here is a sample of a Bible story the team would re-write in modern Greek.

23. The Resurrection of Jesus (1)

It was early on Sunday morning. This was the third day after Jesus died. The earth shook and an angel came down from heaven. The angel pushed the large stone away from the door of the grave. Mary Magdalene went to the grave where Jesus was buried. Another woman named Mary went with her. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus. He is not here! He has risen from the dead.” The angel told the women to go and tell the disciples. Later, Peter and John went to the grave. Jesus was not there. This was just as the women had told them. Jesus had risen from the dead. That evening, the disciples were meeting together. Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “May you have peace.” He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples saw where the nails had gone through His body. This showed that Jesus had risen from the dead. The disciples were very happy. They knew this was Jesus, their Lord. But Thomas, one of the disciples, was not there. The disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus. But he did not believe them. One week later, the disciples were meeting again. Jesus came again and stood among them. Thomas was there. Jesus said to Thomas, “Look at My hands and My side.” Now Thomas knew that Jesus was really alive! All his doubt was gone. Thomas said, “You are my Lord and my God!”  (Matthew 28:1-8 John 20:1-29)

It is not unusual for us to work 12+ hour days trying to complete all 71 lessons in our two week time frame.  Despite the long days, our team had a good spirit and recognized their struggles would make it easy for a new reader to learn. There were always lots of smiles and cheerful words from our Greek speaking brothers and sisters.

 

Magda, Despina, Will & Luciana work together on a lesson. Altogether 10 Greek speakers worked with us to create the 71 lesson primer. 

Worship services were on Sunday evening so we traveled downtown to see some sights in the morning and afternoon. It was a thrill to climb “Mars Hills” where Paul preached his famous sermon in Acts 17:22-31. In the background is the “Acropolis” which is an ancient site rising 500 feet above the city. Notable structures here include the Parthenon, Temple of Athena and the Erechitheon. Paul would have seen idolatry everywhere in the numerous statues, temples and shrines of the city. This prompted his memorable sermon.

When we think of Greece we often recall this country as the birthplace of western civilization, democracy, art, science. But even more important it is the place where the Gospel first entered Europe. The apostle Paul heard the “Macedonian call” and followed God’s leading out of Asia and into his new mission field leaving a lasting impact on history.

The apostle Paul saw a city full of idols and found an “altar to the unknown god.” He used this to preach about the true & living God.

On Sunday evening we had the opportunity to attend a new church development not far from where we were staying. A multi-purpose room of AMG ministries served as the venue. Some of the congregation were from the community, others were members of AMG or Hellenistic Ministries and still others were refugees from nearby camps. While the service was in Greek, there was simultaneous translation into other languages. After worship, the congregation was invited to stay for a hot meal. I was invited to preach one Sunday with George (Luciana’s husband) translating. My text was Psalm 1:1-2 about the “Good Life.” “Blessed is that man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,nor standeth in the way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night.”  A good life avoids wrong counsel, wrong company and wrong conduct but embraces God’s Word and His ways. It was a joy to bring a message to this group some of whom recently decided to follow Christ.

 

I had the privilege of preaching at a new church development. Around 65 people were present for the evening service.  Luciana’s husband (Georg) translated my message from Psalm 1. 

 

In addition to a great national team, we had plenty of assistance from LEI missionaries. Chrystella and her husband are serving in Asia. She developed an extensive literacy work while he teaches at a Bible college. Chrystella’s helped to develop Bible-content primers in 10 languages. She’s trained many teachers in “tutor training workshops” and has helped to set up numerous literacy classes. Recently she wrote a book about her experiences which recounts both the joys and challenges of working cross culturally. We were so glad she could join us for this primer construction on her way back to Asia.

Chrystella is serving in Asia. She’s helped developed primers in 10 languages. She was a great help breaking words down and filling in the mss.

 

Virginia (LEI affiliate) and her husband served in Bulgaria for 17 years. Stan is primarily a Bible teacher and often travels throughout Europe. Virginia’s taught ESL for the same period of time using Passport to the World of English. She participated last year in the Macedonian primer construction where she did “word control.” This is a very important part of primer development to ensure that new readers will progress quickly through the primer. For each lesson she checked the number of new words and kept a database of all the vocabulary. The number of new words per lesson increases from 6 to 12 to 21. Although we often worked after the 8 PM dinner, Virginia would always be the last one to leave. She wanted to make sure everything was ready for the next work day.

Virginia (right) worked faithfully on the computer for 12 days. She carefully checked every lesson in the 72-lesson primer series. Her work will make it easy for the non-reader to become literate.

 

Georg and Martha Ort spend part of each year in Europe. Through their efforts over the past 5 years, primers were created in German, Macedonian and now Greek. The Orts network with Christian organizations, churches and missions in many European countries. As a result, there is a growing recognition of the importance of literacy ministry.

For example, among those working with minorities and especially the Roma in Europe, there is much interest in using LEI’s Bible-content primers to teach reading/writing. In countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Germany these primers are currently in use. The Greek primer which is still to be checked, revised and printed, will be another book used to teach the Roma.

In other countries English as a Second Language is an area of special interest. Georg & Martha conducted ESL workshops in England, Macedonia, the Ukraine and elsewhere. This training enables people to use LEI’s Bible-content ESL materials : Passport to the World of English and Using Everyday English.

Through their ministry, Georg and Martha are advancing the cause of Christ through both literacy and ESL. We are so excited to see how the work in Europe is growing as more and more become aware of LEI’s materials and methods. We expect this interest to only become greater as LEI becomes known in Europe much as we are recognized in countries of Africa, Asia and S. America. Please pray for God’s blessing on their work and fruit from these labors.

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power….” I Thess. 1:11

Georg & Martha Ort are expanding LEI literacy/ESL ministry in Europe. Their efforts are resulting in new primers, training workshops and new partnerships with missions such as Hellenic Ministries. in Greece.

 

 

50th Anniversary of Literacy & Evangelism International

October 5, 2017

Dr. Robert & Alice Rice began Literacy & Evangelism in 1967 after serving for 15 years as missionaries in Korea.

On September 14th we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Literacy & Evangelism. Begun in 1967 in a bedroom of the Rice home, this mission grown to touch nations on virtually every continent of the world. Dr. Bob Rice believed every Christian should be a daily reader of the Word of God. Sadly there are millions of illiterate Christians who are locked out of the Scriptures due to the inability to read.

Instilled with passion for literacy from Dr. Frank Laubach, Bob saw the opportunity to use literacy as a tool for sharing the Good News. As a missionary in Korea he saw the power of literacy as it was a prerequisite for church membership. Today the largest and fastest growing churches in the world are in Korea. Bob wanted to teach Christians so they could grow in their faith. But he also wanted Christians to use literacy as a tool for evangelism.

To that end he developed a unique method of creating simple readers. He would combine the best in methodology from two experts in adult literacy: Frank Laubach and Sarah Gudschinsky. His own unique addition would be Bible-content in every primer. This consists of Scripture references printed in every lesson. The name of Jesus is introduced in Lesson 12 and there is a story about Jesus in every subsequent lesson. Finally, the last 26 lessons are all simplified passages of Scripture: 3 from the Old Testament and 23 from the New Testament. The goal is to help a person be able to read so he/she can read the Bible.

One goal of LEI is to teach Christians how to read so they can be daily students of the Word of God.

LEI’s developed primers in over 250 languages/dialects around the world. The process begins with requests coming to the Tulsa headquarters. A sponsoring organization (church, denominations, Christian organization etc.) agrees to host a primer workshop, print the primer and begin literacy classes. LEI will provide consultants to facilitate the workshop, do desk-top publishing of primer and provide training in use of the primers. This is the first requirement of the literacy program – a Bible-content primer.

LEI created Bible content primers in 250 languages and dialects.

The second requirement is a teacher/tutor who will use the primer to instruct non-readers. This can be one-on-one or with a teacher(s) and class of students. Those who teach are usually volunteers who can learn everything necessary in a brief, 10-hour workshop.  During that time they are trained to teach the first lesson. Due to a consistent lesson format, once you learn to teach the initial lesson you can teach all the other lessons of the primer without further instruction. In this way, teaching a non-reader is possible even by those who are newly literate.

Tutors trained in a 10-hour workshop to use the English primer (Firm Foundations).

Here in the U.S. we usually do one-on-one instruction while overseas the numbers of people wanting to learn to read often requires a class setting.

The 50th anniversary was celebrated at the Gilcrease Art Museum in the beautiful Vista Room. Around 200 guests joined the special event to celebrate, remember and give thanks to God. Dr. Jim Miller (1st Presbyterian) and Dr. Hess Hester (South Tulsa Baptist Church) kept a fast pace through the evening with their anecdotes and humor. Members of the Rice family, LEI staff/missionaries and volunteers were recognized during the program. Dr. Wayne Hardy, his wife and members of the mission’s committee represented Kirk of the Hills Church. The Kirk has played a crucial role in the history of LEI. The church faithfully supported the mission from the beginning and continues to do so in many ways. A placemat from pages of the Spanish primer adorned each plate. Representatives of LEI were seated at each table to answer questions and share about the mission.

Dr. Jim Miller and Dr. Hess Hester were the MC’s for the 50th anniversary.

 

200 guests came together for a delicious meal and special program on Sept. 14th.

 

Members of the Rice family were introduced and recognized as well as staff and missionaries with LEI.

 

A placemat from the Spanish primer represented primers done in many languages/dialects during the last 50 years.

At the 50th anniversary we heard statistics from one partner in India. They used LEI primers for 30 years in over 20 languages and seen 1.3 million people learn to read and 281,000 of those professed faith in Christ during the literacy classes! This resulted in over 10,000 house churches started!

While we are amazed at what God has done through LEI during the past 5 decades, we are excited to see what He will do in the future. Here are some indications:

We are taking our premier training (Int. Literacy Training Institute) held in Tulsa each summer for 5 weeks and turning it into an online course. Dr. Melina Gallo is working to make this a reality so that many who cannot come to the U.S. (transportation costs & visas) will benefit from the training.

Currently our major training event held in Tulsa each summer for 5 weeks is being developed as an online course. This will enable many people who cannot get visas to benefit from the training.

We are have also seen the multiplication of LEI’s in other countries over the past 3 years. Currently we have : LEI-Brazil, LEI -Canada, LEI Benin/Togo, LEI Nigeria, LEI Malawi and LEI Ghana. These replications overseas will enable the mission to significantly expand and grow.

May the Lord continue to give favor to LEI as we begin another chapter in mission work reflecting on the past and looking forward to a bright future.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago.”

Psalm 77:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jubilee Literacy Institute 2017

July 26, 2017

Our 2017 Literacy Institute welcomed 11 people from 6 countries to Tulsa for the five week training from June 10th – July 15th. 

In this 50th year of the mission of Literacy & Evangelism we held our 2017 International Literacy Training Institute. This year we were blessed to have 11 people from 6 nations attend our five-week training in literacy evangelism. Our participants came from Ghana, Malawi, Togo, Nigeria, Myanmar and the U.S. The majority were men except for two LEI related people: – Dr. Melina Gallo and Dr. Rebecca Foote. Melina is raising support to serve as the Director of Online Distance Learning at LEI. She’s already taken a week of our five-week training and put it as an amazing online course.  Her studies this summer will help facilitate her putting all of our training online. Rebecca is volunteering in our local program through the Tulsa Literacy Center. She helps train tutors from local churches, assess learners and help tutors/students using Bible-content primers.

Tutor Place – our dormitory & training center displays a banner for the 50th anniversary.

Literacy and Evangelism was born in 1967 by the vision of Dr. Robert F. Rice. Bob and his family served as missionaries in Korea for 15 years. There he saw firsthand the amazing growth of the church.  One reason – literacy. Dr. Sam Moffatt, grandson of pioneer missionaries,  once said,

“In the early days of the Korean Church, wise missionaries and wise pastors said, ‘all you need to be saved is to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. But if you want to become a full member of his church in Korea, you’re going to have to learn to read. You’re not going to be equipped Christians until you read the Word of God for yourselves. Then and only then are you equipped to tell others … what God’s Word is saying to them.'”

This experience in Korea, coupled with the friendship of Dr. Frank Laubach, was the foundation which launched this new and highly focused mission.

Over the last five decades, LEI created Bible content primers in 250 languages/dialects around the world. These materials are being used in churches to equip Christians to read the Word of God for themselves. They are also being used as an outreach to share the Good News with those who are both non-literate and non-Christian.

Each lesson contains a Scripture reference which the tutor reads to the learners. In Lesson 12 the name of Jesus is introduced and there is a short story about Jesus in every subsequent lesson. Finally the last 26 lessons are simplified passages of Scripture – 3 from the Old Testament and 23 from the New Testament. As people at learning to read they are learning to read the most important book in the world – the Bible.

Since at least 1980, Literacy & Evangelism welcomed pastors, missionaries and Christian workers to Tulsa for intensive training. These trainings began as an 11 week programs to equip people how to use LEI materials and prepare them to lead literacy & English ministries in their countries. In 1987 Tutor Place was dedicated to house, feed and train the annual guests who come to Tulsa. Over the years we’ve seen more than 470 people travel to Tulsa from all over the globe to attend a Literacy Institute. In addition regional Institutes were held in Kenya, Ghana, India and Brazil.

This summer we welcomed people to our jubilee Institute: William Ansere, Dr. Rebecca Foote, Dr. Melina Gallo, Fred Juarbe, Lal Lian Kham, Biak Tha Kima, Malsawnmdawnga, Uche Okoro, Rev. Olufemi Olumeyan,  Rev. Wales Geoffrey Sawali and David Nabine to our training. These men and women are part of a long line of Christian workers who traveled to Tulsa for our International Literacy Training Institute.

Each morning we begin with an inductive Bible study in Philippians (Module 1) and Daniel (Module 2). Participants interact with Scripture by using a simple technique of observation, interpretation and application.

Inductive Bible study begins at 7:30 AM each morning.

Classes run from 8:30 – 11:20 AM and from 1:30 – 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. This year we had 16 instructors over the 5 week program. Courses range in length from two hours to six days. We are indebted to the dedicated instructors who gave freely of their time and talents to teach in 2017. Without them, this training would not be possible.

Sandwiched between morning and afternoon classes are chapel and lunch. Both needed breaks from the training which refresh body and soul. At the conclusion of the afternoon classes, participants help us keep expenses down by assisting with various chores.

Many courses are included in the 5 week program.  Rev. Carey Jo Johnston teaches the basics of primer construction.

 

 Melina Gallo teaches English as a Second Language. She and Rebecca teamed up to give an introduction to ESL.

 

Marti Lane is surrounded by participants after they completed a workshop in  – Passport to the World of English. Marti authored that curriculum. 

 

After morning classes, chapel is a welcome time for worship, testimony and prayer. Lal and Kima (Burma) help us praise God in song. 

 

During chapel each student has the opportunity to share a testimony. At the conclusion we always surround the person with prayer. Here we pray for Uche and his country (Nigeria). 

 

Volunteers from local churches provide the main meal of the day for the Institute. We introduce ourselves to these guests and then pray for the food.

 

This year 16 different groups provided delicious meals to our students. They often stayed to join us for the food and fellowship. Most students leave with a few extra pounds.

 

Classes continue in the afternoon – sometimes a challenge after a heavy meal.  However before dinner each student gets some exercise by helping us with chores around the campus. 

 

There are many other aspects to the Literacy Institute. We plan weekend activities to give our students a time of refreshment and change of scenery.  This year Larry Buell led a car tour of Tulsa pointing out highlights around the city. It culminated with dinner at Cicis pizza. For most this was an new experience. Surprisingly many students liked anchovies! Another Saturday our group went out shopping to stores like Walmart, Best Buy and Goodwill. The Rices’ provided a delicious BBQ dinner at the home of the Hughes family. Everyone enjoyed cooling off in the pool by playing volleyball.  On July 4th we held a Day of Prayer in which the participants led corporate worship/prayer times in the chapel. This was followed by a traditional picnic with lots of hamburgers & hot dogs, games for young and old and culminating with a spectacular fireworks display. Every Sunday our guests visited local churches for Sunday School and worship. It was a busy time in class and out of class!

On July 14th our Institute concluded with a pizza luncheon and program in Tutor Place. That evening we met at Kirk of the Hills for our graduation p;rogram. Dr. Wayne Hardy, senior pastor, brought a challenging devotional. We are so thankful for the many ways the Kirk has supported LEI from the beginning up to the present.

As the Director of ILTI 2017 I had the privilege of making remarks and thanking the Task Force which worked year round to make the Institute possible. 

 

Dr. Hardy began his tenure at the church by developing a life -changing short-term-missions program.  Although a very busy senior pastor today, he continues to be an enthusiastic supporters of missions and LEI work. 

 

During the program, participants receive certificates and then are commissioned in prayer.  Refreshments and a time of fellowship followed the graduation. 

Some of our participants had to leave before the graduation. The rest would be leaving within a couple of days. We are sad to know this was the last time we would be together as a group. Yet we are excited to know our participants are returning home with materials, resources, skills and knowledge which will bless untold numbers of people around the world. LEI continues to “equip the church to share the message of Jesus Christ through the gift of reading.”  We will continue to pray that God uses the training these brothers and sisters received to enhance their work for Christ around the globe. “Study to show thyself approved unto God , a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primer Construction in Macedonia

June 9, 2017

The Cyrillic alphabet was developed by Cyril & Methodius in 9th century. It is used in eastern Europe and parts of Asia.

In Acts 16 we read of Paul’s vision of a man from Macedonia begging him, “Cover over to Macedonia and help us.” And so the Gospel first entered Europe and spread west. LEI was recently invited to the country of Macedonia to help reach the illiterate with the tool of Bible-content literacy.

Georg Ort is our European Director. He and his wife Martha are greatly expanding the work of Literacy & Evangelism in Europe. Through conversation with pastors they learned of literacy needs in the Balkan country of Macedonia.

The country was formed in 1991 from the former Yugoslavia. Through their contacts there, the Orts organized a primer construction workshop in May. I was asked to help them lead the workshop to develop a Bible-content primer in the Macedonian language which uses a Cyrillic alphabet.

 

A vegetable stand we encountered while traveling on the roads through Macedonia.

I arrived at the Alexander the Great airport in the capital of Skopje.  After staying overnight we traveled by bus to the town of Veles where we were met by Pastor Dragan and his wife Billiana. They took us by van to our workplace another 3 hours away in Stenje.

Our work site was near Lake Prespa with the majestic mountains of Macedonia in the background.

We worked in a beautiful location by Lake Prespa. We could look across the lake and see small villages in Macedonia. Further down we could see a town in Greece. The Galicica mountains loomed behind us separating Macedonia from Albania.

 

Our team consisted of 6 Macedonian speakers, the Orts, Virigina Newton and myself.

 

Georg filled in our manuscript while Martha set up lessons on desk top publishing software.

 

Virginia’s knowledge of Bulgarian (a related language) was very useful in keeping the word control and in general communication.

Our primer team consisted of Dragan & Billiana , Tefic, Igor, Anastasia and Svetlana as the language speakers. In addition Virginia Newton came from Bulgaria to help us with word control. Virginia and her husband Stan lived in that country for 17 years. She teaches English using Passport to the World of English. Her husband is a Bible teacher. Martha Ort worked on desk top publishing while Georg assisted in completing our manuscript. My role is to organize the work/workers and walk the team through the steps to finish a 72 lesson primer in two weeks. An additional challenge was the Cyrillic alphabet. However Virginia and the Orts were able to use that script without too much difficulty.

 

Each day began with worship and a devotion from the Gospel of John.

Each morning we began with a devotional in the Gospel of John at 8 AM.  I attempted to relate each morning’s study with literacy to motivate and encourage our team.  Primer construction is hard work. The first 32 lessons are all created by gradually introducing letters, using those letters who write words, using those words to make stories. The vocabulary must be carefully controlled otherwise the lesson will be too difficult for the new reader. In Lesson 12 we introduce the name of Jesus and have a short story about Him in every subsequent lessons.

Part of Lesson 1 in the primer. Words are created with the letters in parentheses at the top.

Several lessons are “special lessons” to introduce capital letters, numbers and letter writing. Next comes the health and agriculture lessons which provide important information to the learners. Finally the last 26 lessons are all simplified Bible stories (3 from the OT and 23 from the NT).  Our goal is to help people read/write so they will be able to read the Word of God in their own language. We want Christians to be daily students of God’s Word. We also wish to equip the church with a simple means of reaching out to the illiterate in their communities with the Good News.

After two long weeks working around tables the draft of the “Door to the Light” is finished.

Despite several challenges with word control, team members coming and going and miscommunication the work continued steadily to completion.  The Macedonians speakers worded tirelessly 6 days a week in the mornings, afternoons and some evenings. The other members of the team did everything possible to support their efforts and insure that the end result would be a quality primer in every way.

 

A late afternoon celebration marked the conclusion of our primer workshop.

At the conclusion of the workshop we celebrated with ice cream and beverage. “Way to the Light” was finished and yet there is more to do. Patty at Literacy & Evangelism will complete the desk top publishing. Carey Jo will review the manuscript and check it. When sufficiently reviewed it will be returned to Macedonia for further checking by member of the primer team. Eventually it will be printed in that country. The next step will be for teachers to be trained in the use of the primer, setting up literacy classes and helping non-readers become readers. Hopefully the cycle will continue over and over again in villages, towns and cities throughout Macedonia. In this way the call to “Come over to Macedonia and help us” continues to be fulfilled. Please pray that “Door to the Light” will help many in this country to learn to read and also come to the Living Word through the Written Word.

 

The Macedonian flag adopted in 1995 depicts the sun and its rays shining on the country.

 

 

The Key is in your hands!

February 22, 2017

Here is a video about the importance of the work Literacy & Evangelism is doing around the globe. We hope you will enjoy it.

 

Here is a video about the local outreach of Literacy & Evangelism through the Tulsa Literacy Center. You can help by attending an upcoming workshop (April) to become a tutor. Contact us (918-585-3826) for more information!

What happens after an International Literacy Training Institute?

January 16, 2017
Kim studying at ILTI 2015. This 5-week training is held annually in Tulsa with participants coming from around the world.

Kim studying at ILTI 2015. This five-week training is held annually in Tulsa with participants coming from around the world.

Each year in Tulsa we hold an “International Literacy Training Institute” (ILTI).  Participants from around the world attend this annual five-week event. When they return home, many begin to use literacy evangelism as an important part of their ministries.

Kim attended ILTI in 2015. She recently stopped in our office recently to give us an update on her latest trip to Vietnam.  I asked Kim to tell us a little of her story including how she came to attend ILTI and how she came to faith. Here are some highlights of what she told me:

While attending Victory Bible Institute in Tulsa, Kim heard about a mission’s conference at Asbury Methodist Church. She attended the conference and stopped by the table where Patty Hickman, my wife and I were representing Literacy & Evangelism International. She picked up information about our summer training (ILTI) and indicated she needed to come. Kim was looking for tools for ministry in the country of her birth – Vietnam.

Kim and 78 others fled Vietnam by boat.

Kim and 78 others fled Vietnam by boat for the safety of a refugee camp in Thailand.

In 1978 she fled from her home in Vietnam. As the communists were taking over the country, she and 78 others left by boat. They risked everything to make the hazardous journey by sea to refugee camps in Thailand. Although turned back by authorities, pursued at one point by 12 boats of pirates and facing storms on the seas, the group made it safely to Thai waters.  While still a long way from shore, the group jumped overboard as the ship sank. The police arrived an hour later. A translator accompanied the officers. To Kim’s amazement it was her cousin!  The 78 refugees were safely re-located to a nearby camp and comforted by this family member.

At the Song Khla Camp, a number of Americans visited to bring food, clothing and Bibles to the refugees. Though her English was poor, she managed to translate for the pastors who arrived to help. Kim remained in the camp with some 8,000 other people for a year. During this time she did not know God but tried to read the Bibles brought into the camp. Other refugees arrived including some Christians from Vietnam. Kim asked them questions about the Bible but she struggled to read and understand the words. Yet, for the first time in her life, she was hearing about Jesus.

Kim struggled to understand the Bible.

Kim asked questions about the Bible which she struggled to read and understand.

Eventually she was sponsored by Catholic Charities and found a new home in Chicago where she studied English and attended community college. She married and moved to California where other family members lived. During those years, Kim was often called on to voluntarily translate for Vietnamese families who needed help in this new land.  She always tried to take advantage of training and educational opportunities offered in America. She received a Master Jeweler’s diploma and an Associate degree in Administration.

Kim visited Vietnamese churches in the various places where she and her family lived. Unfortunately she still did not understand the Bible or the Gospel message. In 2000 she came to Tulsa where her oldest daughter was attending college. A few years later while attending a worship service at Victory Christian Center, the Lord opened her heart and she understood who Jesus was and why He came. She placed her trust in Him and became a new creature in Christ. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. “ (II Cor. 5:17 ESV).

Kim attended Victory Bible Institute and graduated in 2005. She assisted with the founding of an International Victory Bible Institute in Saigon.  The school is still functioning with graduates serving in many places in Vietnam including her hometown.

After encountering LEI at the mission’s conference at Asbury Church, Kim enrolled in the 2015 ILTI. She successfully completed Modules 1 & 2 of our Institute that year. Since then she’s traveled to Vietnam to re-connect with family and friends. At the same time she is utilizing her new tools of ESL and literacy for ministry.

Kim with other 2015 ILTI graduates.

Kim at the 2015 ILTI graduation held at 1st Presbyterian Church in Tulsa.

While back in Vietnam she taught an English class using Passport to the World of English. 26 learners came three times a week to study. The students completed the entire book of 15 lessons in several months. All 26 of them professed faith in Christ before the classes ended!

Passport to the World of English is one of LEI's two curriculua used to teach English.

Passport to the World of English is one of LEI’s two curriculua used to teach English. There are Psalms/Proverbs in Book 1, Old Testament stories in Book 2 and New Testament stories in Book 3.

Kim also taught five elderly men & women using the Bible-content Vietnamese primer. They finished Book 1 and are half way through Book 2. As Kim teaches the Bible story lessons from the primer, she also reads the appropriate Scripture from the Vietnamese Bible. The men and women in her literacy class also trusted in the Lord as their Savior!

The cover of the Bible-content, Vietnamese primer.

The cover of the Bible-content, Vietnamese primer which people are using to learn to read/write Vietnamese. Most of LEI’s primers are available for download on the website.

Through other opportunities Kim shared the Gospel with 16 other people who accepted the Jesus. One of the individuals is 82 years old! By utilizing what she’s learned at LEI, Kim is bearing fruit in the country she fled almost 40 years earlier.

This year, Kim is planning to attend a week of “primer construction” at the 2017 ILTI. She wants to increase her knowledge of LEI primers to make her even more effective in her work in Vietnam. We are looking forward to her return to the ILTI training.

Kim’s come a long way since fleeing her home by boat.  She knows what it’s like to leave everything behind, face dangers and uncertainties.  But she also knows the grace of God and wants people everywhere, especially in Vietnam, to know the Savior she’s come to love and serve. Paul’s words seem appropriate, “Brothers my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved”  (Rom. 10:1).