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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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).

 

English Language Ministry at Tulsa Bible Church

November 2, 2016
Tulsa Bible Church hosted and English Language workshop in October.

Tulsa Bible Church hosted an English Language workshop in October.

 

On October 20th, 21st and 22nd we held a 10-hour “tutor-training workshop” at Tulsa Bible Church. Georg & Martha Ort and I worked together to train 11 people in the use of Passport to the World of English and Using Everyday English. These two curriculua, developed by Literacy & Evangelism International, are invaluable tools in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Both can be taught after learning eight simple steps used for each lesson.

Georg, Martha and I teamed up to lead a workshop in English.

Georg, Martha and I teamed up to lead a workshop on teaching English to speakers of other languages.

 

Tulsa Bible Church is launching a ministry to reach out to the Spanish-speaking population of the city. According to the Tulsa World approximately 12% of Tulsa is Hispanic. In addition, Hispanic students outnumber other races and ethnicities in Tulsa Public Schools. Most of these students are English Language Learners (ELL).

Merle Ediger from the church is heading up this outreach to the growing Hispanic population. He and Pastor of Shepherding, Phil Martin, were present for the training.  Merle has a lot of cross-cultural experience: he was raised in Ethiopia, served in Kenya (where he met his wife Carol) and also worked in Ecuador.  Merle knows that teaching conversational English is a great way to become acquainted with people, minister to their need and build relationships.

 

Merle and his wife Carol discuss

Merle and his wife Carol discuss one of the steps – Activities – which teaches reading/writing.

 

Each of the three sessions in our workshop was introduced with a relevant Scripture followed by prayer. We then demonstrated each of the steps needed to teach a lesson. After modeling, the participants practiced the step with a partner or in a small group. In this manner we taught all eight steps: Theme Picture, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, Clap the Stress,  Conversations, Activity, Things to Think About and Assignment.

 

We read a Scripture from Deut. 24"17-22 about God's concern for the foreigner, fatherless and widows.

We read a Scripture from Deut. 24:17-22 about God’s concern for the foreigner, fatherless and widows.

Georg uses a powerpoint to introduce the objectives of the workshop.

Georg uses a power point to introduce the objectives of the workshop.

Gestures are used to indicate "please listen" , "please repeat" and "please read."

Gestures are used to indicate “please listen” , “please repeat” and “please read.”

 

A familiar pattern of “model” then “repeat” then “solo” is used to teach most of the steps. Once mastered, it is relatively easy to work through any of the 15 lessons used in Book 1 of Passport to the World of English.  In addition, these same eight steps can be used to “create a lesson.” If students need help with buying groceries, for example, you can develop your own lesson around that theme. In this way, you can supplement the curriculum with lessons which meet the individual needs of your learners.

 

Martha assists groups on Saturday morning to create their own lessons.

Martha assists groups on Saturday morning to create their own lessons.

Reviewing the steps to teach a lesson in Passport and also to create a lesson.

Reviewing the steps to teach a lesson in Passport and also to “create your own lesson.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 people completed the training and are ready to use LEI materials to teach English.

11 people completed the training and are ready to use LEI materials to teach English.

At the conclusion of the 10-hour workshop, we were delighted to present certificates to our 11 participants. All of them attended each of the three sessions and fully participated in the training. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to equip believers with tools to show the love of Christ through teaching English. May all of our trainees use these new skills to teach and reach the immigrants, refugees, foreigners and sojourners living in Tulsa.

“Assemble the people – men, women and children and the aliens living in your towns – so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.” Deut. 31:12

 

 

International Literacy Training Institute 2016- In Memory of Larry Hopson

August 5, 2016
Larry Hopson, our Dorm Manager, went home to be with the Lord on June 1st.

Larry Hopson, our Dorm Manager, went home to be with the Lord on June 1st.

The 2016 International Literacy Training Institute began on June 11th and ran through July 16th. This year we had a fantastic group of individuals from Angola, Chile, Malawi, Myanmar, Ghana and the  U.S. We dedicated our training in memory of our brother Larry Hopson.

Larry entered the presence of the Lord on June 1st just prior to the start of our Institute.  He and Sharon came to Literacy & Evangelism in the spring of 2012. Since then they’ve served as missionaries in their role as managers  of the Tutor Place Dormitory.

The Hopsons came to Literacy & Evangelism in the spring of 2012. They both felt the Lord’s leading to this position so much that Sharon starting packing even before the interview with the Personnel Committee. They arrived just before the start of our 2012 Institute. There was so much activity that Sharon said they did not think they would last 6 months. It began with meeting students at the airport/bus terminal and welcoming them to Tulsa. The Hopsons assisted our guests to settle into their rooms and fit into the routine of classes, chapel, meals and chores. Larry & Sharon were affectionately called “Papa and Mama” by our overseas guests.  Sharon said, “the last four years were the happiest times of our lives.”

Over the past year Larry’s health declined. But he was reassured that God is sovereign and in control. He looked to Jesus for daily strength and direction. One of his favorite Scriptures was II Chron. 20:12. A huge army of Moabites and Ammonites were assembled to wipe out the kingdom of Judah. King Jehoshapat went to the house of the Lord and prayed. “We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you.” As the people began to worship the Lord, He caused the enemies to fight one another. That day the Jewish people won a great victory without ever lifting a sword.  Larry often quoted this verse to remind us all where our help comes from.

On June 1st Larry’s pilgrimage on this earth ended as he entered into his heavenly home. Our prayers continue for Sharon and the family that God will grant each special comfort and grace. It was a privilege to know Larry and learn lessons he taught us about life, suffering and trust. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” That really was our motto this summer.

This year we had 9 participants from 6 countries.

This year we had 9 participants from 6 countries at ILTI 2016.

This year the Lord provided two wonderful interns to assist Sharon with the managing of our Tutor Place Dormitory. Derrick Houston from Oral Roberts University arrived several weeks before the Institute began. He did a great job of helping us prepare for our nine guests. Derrick did his internship in partial fulfillment for his degree in Missions. Our second intern, Kaitlyn Scully, arrived the day after our Institute began. Kaitlyn attends Grove City College in Pennsylvania where she is majoring in Elementary Education. Kaitlyn jumped right into her role for the summer and went above and beyond the call of duty. We are so thankful for Derrick and Kaitlyn and their crucial role in our 2016 program.

 

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Derrick Houston served an 8-week internship with us this summer. He is finishing a degree in Missions at Oral Roberts Uuniversity.

Kaitlyn Scully served with us for five weeks. She is an Elementary Ed major at Grove City College in PA.

Kaitlyn Scully served with us for five weeks. She is an Elementary Ed major at Grove City College in PA.

Our training this year was divided into two distinct parts. Module 1 was two weeks in length and provided an overview of Literacy & Evangelism materials and methods. The heart of Module 1 consists of an English Language workshop and a basic Literacy workshop. These trainings use Bible-content material to teach English or basic reading/writing. In addition to these two foundation courses, each morning students learned to do “inductive Bible study” using the Epistle to the Philippians. By using observation, interpretation and application questions, each student took a turn facilitating a study. There were a number of other classes to round out the Module including: Cross Cultural Communication, Literacy Overview, Missions, History of Literacy & Evangelism, Literacy Ministry in DRC and Phonics.

 

Each morning the day begins using Inductive Bible study with Ron Fick.

Each morning the day begins with Inductive Bible study facilitated by  Ron Fick.

 

Marti Lane returned from N. Carolina to teach ESL.

Marti Lane returned from N. Carolina to teach ESL using Passport to the World of English which she authored.

 

Sila from DR Congo tells of his goal of 1 million new readers in next 3 years.

Sila Ndunda from DR Congo tells of his goal of 1 million new readers in next 3 years. He’s worked in literacy for over 30 years. What an amazing  story he told about the work in DRC.

 

 

Pat Lindsay and Larry Buell assisted me in our Tutor Training Workshop using Firm Foundations.

Pat Lindsay and Larry Buell assisted me in our Tutor Training Workshop using Firm Foundations. Pat is preparing to return to Benin in September.

 

Participants receive certificates for successfully completing the workshops.

Participants receive certificates for successfully completing the workshops in both ESL and literacy. 

 

Module 2 was three weeks in length and provided intensive training in overseas literacy ministry. The heart of this training is the “Overseas Method/Teacher Training Workshop” taught by Dr. James Kigamwa and Rev. Samuel Lawerteh. The week instructed participants in how to use LEI primers in various languages around the world. Our students worked in Portuguese, Sena, Ga, Spanish and Burmese. The students not only learn how to teach the primer in these languages, but also how to train teachers to use the materials.

Dr. James Kigamwa leads week 3 which is the heart of LEI's training.

Dr. James Kigamwa leads week 3 which is the foundation of our Literacy Institute. Students learn how to use Bible content primers in various languages.

 

Rev. Samuel Lawerteh from Ghana helps teach Overseas Method.

Rev. Samuel Lawerteh from Ghana helps teach Overseas Method with James Kigamwa. He is the President of LEI Ghana.

Following the Overseas Method/TTW is a week on “Leadership.” Greg Bennett and Rev. Sid Rice taught successful principles  for managing and leading a literacy program. This includes  personality inventory, working in teams, setting goals and developing an action plan. The final week brought Rev. Carey Jo Johnston from Canada back to Tulsa for “Primer Construction” This overview provides our participants with foundational knowledge on the development of Bible-content primers in different languages.

Greg Bennett teaches Leadership during the 4th week of ILTI.

Greg Bennett prepares for a session on leadership during the 4th week of the summer Institute. Greg’s experience in H.R. and gift for teaching are a great asset to our training.

 

Rev. Sid Rice, Executive Director of LEI, team teaches with Greg.

Sid Rice, Executive Director of LEI, draws on 15 years in the corporate world to team teach with Greg. He also taught the History of LEI. 

 

Carey Jo Johnston returns from Canada to teach primer construction.

Rev. Carey Jo Johnston returns from Canada to teach primer construction. She and Dr. Bob Rice co-authored the book we use to develop primers.

 

In addition to the class time, our participants led chapel services, enjoyed home-cooked meals, visited sites in Tulsa and learned from one another in a community setting. It was a unique time of learning, sharing and fun. Below are some pictures which captured a few of those special moments.

 

A quick visit to the campus of O.R.U. during our tour of Tulsa

A quick visit to the campus of O.R.U. after the first week of the Institute. Everyone wanted a picture in front of the “Praying Hands.” 

 

Eating pizza at Cici's after a tour of Tulsa.

Larry Buell (left) gave a fact-filled tour of Tulsa. The day concluded with pizza at Cici’s. For many eating pizza was a new and enjoyable experience. 

 

A visit to Kirk of the Hills where students shared in a Sunday School class.

A visit to Kirk of the Hills where students shared in the 8:15 AM Sunday School class. In addition many of the Small Groups served lunch to our guests. The church also provided partial scholarships from the Coffee Fund.

 

Times of worship and testimony are a part of each day. Here Lal from Myanmar tells his story.

Times of worship and testimony are a part of chapel each day.  Lal Biak from Myanmar tells his story after leading in a hymn and reading Scripture.

 

Everyone enjoyed an outing to the Graham home in Porter, OK.

Everyone enjoyed an outing to the Graham home in Porter, OK. It was a time to visit with the family and relax for a few hours in a beautiful rural setting.

 

 

Volunteers from local churches provided the main meal of the day for 5 weeks. After introductions we thanked God for this provision.

Volunteers from local churches provided the main meal of the day for 5 weeks. After introductions we joined hands and thanked God for this provision.

 

Celebrating Christa Rice's 60th birthday at the Belvedere Mansion in Claremore.

A special evening at the Belvidere Mansion in Claremore celebrated  Christa Rice’s 60th birthday. The students were treated to a special dinner, celebration and tour of the Mansion. 

 

The five week training ended too quickly. On July 15th we held a graduation meal with a catered luncheon at 1st Presbyterian Church. Dr. Jim Miller brought words of welcome. After the delicious meal I thanked Sid Rice, our ILTI Task Force, our instructors and the staff of LEI all of whom worked in a united effort to make ILTI 2016 possible. Students took the opportunity to tell how meaningful the training was and how useful it will be when they return home. Kenyon Gerbrandt put together a memorable powerpoint which captured ILTI 2016 in a cascade of changing photos.

Dr. Jim Miller brings words of welcome at our luncheon.

Dr. Jim Miller brings words of welcome at our luncheon. He is also serving on the Board of LEI. 

 

The catered luncheon gave us an opportunity to express thanks to the many who made ILTI 2016 possible.

The graduation luncheon gave us an opportunity to express thanks to the many who made ILTI 2016 possible.

 

In the evening we held a graduation program at Kirk of the Hills Church. Dr. Dan Bair, campus pastor, spoke earlier in the day to prepare the students for their departure home with insights on “cultural re-entry.” He told us that the church had no electricity due to the storm the night before. However by 7 PM the power was restored and we were able to hold the graduation program.  Dr. Gregory Bangura from Sierre Leone gave a challenging message. After distributing certificates to each student, the congregation was asked to come forward to pray for our brothers and sisters. A reception followed to congratulate each participant on their “successful completion” of Modules 1 & 2.

 

Cliff Bush spoke of how he will use his training among the Samburu tribe in Kenya.

Cliff Bush, one of the participants, spoke of how he will use his training among the Samburu tribe in Kenya. He believes it will be a key in reaching this group with the Gospel. 

 

Sid and I present certificates to each of our students.

Sid and I present certificates to each of our students who “successfully completed” Modules 1 & 2 of our 5-week training. 

 

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At the end of the evening we gather to pray for our ILTI graduates and ask the Lord’s blessing upon their lives and ministries. The next day several will begin their journey  home. 

 

We will not soon forget our brothers and sisters who attended ILTI 2016. We pray that the Lord will bless their lives and ministries as they  return to their countries with tools for evangelism and discipleship. They will also remember the words of Larry Hopson who continually looked to the Lord for guidance and protection. Our students will do the same. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” We will continue to pray for Sharon as she continues to Manage the Tutor Place Dormitory and prepares for other guests who will live there until ILTI 2017 and we welcome another group of students.

 

 

We will continue to pray for Sharon Hopson and the family as we remember Larry. We dedicate this ILTI to honor his memory.

We will continue to pray for Sharon Hopson and the family as we remember Larry. We dedicate this ILTI 2016 to honor his memory.

 

 

U.S. Adult Literacy Statistics from ProLiteracy

May 18, 2016

thProLiteracy is the largest literacy organization in the United States. It is the result of a merger of Laubach Literacy and Literacy Volunteers of America in 2002. It is doing a tremendous work in helping people learn to read and write across the country.

Recently this organization published a fact sheet about literacy in America. The information will be startling to some who are not involved in literacy or education. For example, more than 36 million adults in the U.S. are unable to read, write or do math above a 3rd grade level. For these people newspapers, books, magazines and  are out of reach. This despite the fact that many publications claim this nation is 97-99% literate! Dr. Robert Rice, the founder of Literacy & Evangelism, called literacy a blindspot in missions. It seems few are aware of the extent of illiteracy in our country as well.

The fact sheet also cites the National Institute for Literacy which states that nearly 43% of adults with the lowest literacy levels live in poverty. This is perhaps the greatest threat to education. Poverty impacts a child’s development and performance in school. When students fall behind in reading and writing, they often drop out of school. The doors to greater opportunity and achieving full potential are also closed. Illiteracy imprisons millions in a cycle of poverty.

Also there is a correlation between illiteracy and  crime. 85% of  juveniles and 70% of the prison population cannot read above a 4th grade level. Neighborhoods with lower literacy levels also have higher crime levels. Those incarcerated who do not participate in education programs in prison are unable to find a job often leading to a return to crime and prison. Some studies indicate that 66% of students who cannot read well by the 4th grade will end up in the criminal justice system at some point.

Illiteracy is a great problem.  You can read more about literacy in the U.S. by clicking below and reading this interesting fact sheet:

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We at Literacy & Evangelism (LEI) believe one of the greatest blessings of reading is the ability to read the 66 books of the Bible. God given us this revelation in the Old and New Testaments which He desires all people to read, understand and believe. Jesus taught that we should not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). By reading, meditating upon and obeying the teaching of God’s Word, we find true life, an abundant life which only Christ can give (John 10:10).  Are you using the gift of reading to spend time in God’s Word each day? It is the best way to use this wonderful gift.

Tonia displays a Bible she is reading with help from her LEI tutor.

Tonia displays a Bible she is reading with help from her LEI tutor.

Tribute to Dr. Phil

April 27, 2016
Dr. Phil Truesdale - missionary, pastor, educator, colleague and beloved friend.

Phil Truesdale – missionary, pastor, educator, colleague and beloved friend.

I remember meeting Dr. Phil Truesdale shortly after he retired as Mission’s Pastor of Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. He was exploring options for “finishing strong” and visited Literacy & Evangelism to join Sid Rice and me for lunch. As a pastor, a missionary, an educator, Phil wanted to spend the rest of his life doing what he loved best – ministry and missions. He liked what he saw and joined Literacy & Evangelism in 2011. For the next five years he impacted lives for the kingdom of God  in his vital role here as Director of Pastoral Care.

 

Phil spent 6 years serving with Literacy & Evangelism. His presence enriched everyone he met.

Phil spent 5 years serving with Literacy & Evangelism. His presence enriched everyone he met.

What a great addition he made to the LEI family with his sense of humor, wisdom, cross cultural experience, optimism and counsel. Through these and other ways he blessed the missionaries, staff and trainees he encountered at this mission. Inevitably Phil would begin an encounter with a joke to bring a smile and say “relax, I’m just a one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find bread.”

Phil was a humble man who made one feel at home the first time you met him.  He attended the 2011 International Literacy Institute in Tulsa, OK. Though he could teach all of us who were instructors that year, he went through our Institute with grace and collegiality. His gracious words encouraged all the teachers that year when he said, “one of the best adult education experiences I’ve ever had. Very professional… This was a great experience.”

 

Alexis and Phil listen to a lecture during ILTI 2011.

Alexis (Congo) and Phil listen to a lecture during ILTI 2011. Phil established a special rapport with the many  internationals who attended.

 

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Learning to teach the Spanish primer – Nuevos Caminos – Phil mastered 5 steps used in every lesson. He later taught high school kids in Guatemala to teach their parents and grandparents how to read.

 

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He was a friend to everyone he met. Phil wanted to help each person to grow in their relationship with Christ.

 

Phil certificate

Phil completed training at the 5-week ILTI in 2011.

After joining LEI he wanted to train folks from Colonial Presbyterian Church to use the Bible-content, ESL curriculum called Passport to the World of English. He saw an opportunity for people from the church to reach-out to international students, immigrants, refugees and others who needed help speaking English. Phil was always looking for opportunities to use what he learned to help others.

Phil was a great educator and very much at home in a classroom.

Phil was a great educator and very much at home in a classroom.

 

Our first ESL workshop at Colonial Church trained 15 people.

Our first ESL workshop at Colonial Church (Quivira campus)  in Kansas City trained 15 people.

 

Phil introducing the instructors at the Quivira campus of Colonial Church.

Phil introducing the second ESL workshop at the Wornall campus of Colonial Church.

 

Another 8 people trained at the Wornall campus of Colonial Church.

8 people were trained at this campus in the fall of 2013.

 

When missionary Pat Lindsay returned from Benin, West Africa, she attended our 2012 International Literacy Training Institute. Phil helped me teach a workshop with our Bible-content Firm Foundations materials. Upon completion of the Institute, Pat returned to Kansas City. She wanted to put into practice what she learned.

Pat began to teach her 82-year old uncle, Frederick, how to read using Firm Foundations. After several years, Frederick finished the curriculum and the family celebrated in a big way.  Phil and Marjorie attended the “graduation” at a local restaurant. It was a very special time for everyone. Phil & Marjorie’s presence was a special encouragement as they served as prayer partners, encouragers and mentors to Pat during her support raising efforts to continue to serve in Africa.

 

Phil & Marjorie celebrate Uncle Frederick's graduation at

Phil & Marjorie Truesdale help celebrate Uncle Frederick’s graduation at a Kansas City restaurant.

 

Family & friends gather to celebrate Uncle Frederick's ability to read .

Pat tutored her uncle and helped him learn how to read despite dementia.

In addition to teaching at our summer ILTI from 2012 to 2015, Phil would return to Tulsa for Director’s meetings and periodic “Tutor Training Workshops.”  Phil brought a unique contribution to meetings and trainings at Literacy & Evangelism. He would draw on his wealth of experience as a missionary, pastor, educator, husband, father & grandfather . When he stood up to speak he would cite a statistic from one of the many books he was reading or more commonly share a joke to make even the most serious smile. You were never bored when Phil began to speak.

 

Phil teaching at a literacy tutor training workshop in Nov. 2014.

Phil teaching at a workshop in Nov. 2014  in our  Tutor Place classroom.

 

Phil congratulates Oscar (82) upon completing the literacy tutor training workshop (TTW).

Phil and other trainees congratulates Oscar (82) upon completing the 10- hour literacy tutor training workshop (TTW).

The last International Literacy Training Institute he attended was in the summer of 2015. Although Phil needed to travel with a special machine and many tanks of oxygen, he made the 4 1/2 hour journey from Kansas City. His son Tim accompanied Phil on what would be his last visit to the Literacy & Evangelism headquarters in Tulsa. Although having a lot of physical difficulty, he wanted to address the students in chapel and give them a copy of the mission factbook Operation World.

Phil spoke in chapel on the parable of the soils (Mark 4:1-20) and talked about the various responses to the Gospel  message. He brought 4 trays to represent the different soils in this parable:            1) packed down, impenetrable ground – people who hear the Gospel but Satan snatches the seed; 2) rocky soil – people hear but have no root and quickly die out; 3) thorny soil – people hear but are consumed by things of this world and 4) good soil – where the message takes root and produces a bountiful harvest. Phil was certainly a great example of that last kind of soil. He wanted to bear fruit for the kingdom and make his life count every day.

 

Tethered to an oxygen tank, Phil nonetheless came to Tulsa to speak to our students.

Tethered to an oxygen tank, Phil nonetheless came to Tulsa to speak to our students.

 

Students of ILTI 2015 whom Phil addressed last summer.

Students of ILTI 2015 whom Phil addressed last summer.

When diagnosed with the disease which would eventually take his life, he lost 100 lbs to be eligible for a lung transplant. He worked hard through diet and exercise and achieved his goal of losing that weight. Although the transplant did not occur, Phil nevertheless was confident in the Lord. More than once he said to us, “Any way I win. God can heal me from this disease, I can get a lung transplant or I get to go home to heaven to be with Jesus. Any way I’m a winner!!!”

Thanks Phil for sharing your life and love of the Lord with us here at Literacy & Evangelism International. You were and are an inspiration to all of us. We are grateful for the privilege of serving with you. You’ve taught us a lot about missons, about ministry about living and dying.  You are a great example for us all. Well done, you’ve fought and finished your course.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering and the time for my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” II Tim. 3:6-8

Phil

 

 

 

“Reading changed my life!” – Renard

April 11, 2016
The Tulsa Literacy Center is the local outreach of Literacy & Evangelism International

The Tulsa Literacy Center is the local outreach of Literacy & Evangelism International

When someone comes to the Tulsa Literacy Center  requesting help, we know that individual is taking a courageous step. For most people with reading difficulties, embarrassment and shame are giant obstacles which must be overcome before asking  for help. The majority of people who are functionally illiterate, continue to hide the problem. Some carry a newspaper on the bus, others bring a Bible to church, others turn to a spouse, trusted friend or co-worker to decipher the written word. When Renard walked through the doors of our office to be assessed, we knew he had overcome perhaps the biggest obstacle in learning to read.

 

Oscar is now tutoring Renard each week at the Tulsa Literacy Center.

Oscar is now tutoring Renard each week at the Tulsa Literacy Center.

Born and raised in Tulsa, Renard attended school up to the 11th grade. When he dropped out he began work in a hotel at the airport. He liked his jobs in the kitchen and later the laundry. After nearly a decade he moved to another hotel where he worked in the maintenance department.  5 years later he returned to the hotel where he initially worked.  Unfortunately an injury forced him to go on disability.

Driving in west Tulsa one day, Renard saw our office building. He came in to ask what we did here and learned about the Tulsa Literacy Center. He said, “I’m glad I did. It meant big changes for me.”

Renard was tutored by Pastor Dick Geiger. Over the next 3 years his tutor patiently helped him to move from the Pre-Reader through Books 1,2 & 3. After completing the Firm Foundations series, Dick helped Renard to read through the New Testament in a simplified translation.

 

Rev. Dick Geiger worked regularly with Renard for 3 years.

Rev. Dick Geiger worked regularly with Renard for 3 years.

Listen to what Dick said about his experience tutoring:

“I got started tutoring when Bob asked me to take a student for a few months while his tutor, a medical doctor, was taking exams. That was over two years ago and I’m still tutoring… I have a good relationship with my student. We meet as often as he wants. We pray during every lesson. In addition to the literacy curriculum, we’ve gone through the New Testament twice.  It is good to see how much he’s developed in reading.”

Renard recently returned to the Literacy Center for additional help.   Oscar, in his eighties, attended our tutor training workshop in November 2014. He began tutoring George who lived in the same apartment complex. After working with him for about a year, the family moved and had to stop the reading lessons. Having a learner temporarily stop the reading lesson is not uncommon. We always hope it is a “stop out” instead of a “drop out.”

 

Oscar and other participants enjoy a break during the 10 hour training workshop.

Oscar and other participants enjoy a break during the 10 -hour “tutor training workshop”.

 

Oscar attended a 10 hour tutor training workshop at LEI in preparation for tutoring.

Participants received a certificate upon completion of the training. Shortly thereafter tutors are matched with adult non-readers.

Oscar then began to work with Renard. They meet weekly at the Tulsa Literacy Center. With Oscar’s help, Renard is continuing to make progress reading the Bible. He recently said,

“This opened doors for me. I’m a lot better. There are lots of things I can do now that I could not before. I can fill out an application, read correspondence, the newspaper and street signs. I can read the Bible pretty good. Before I could not read any of the Bible. Reading changed my life. It set me on a good path.”

Once Renard had a dream that the Lord was speaking to him to write out a chapter of the Bible each day. “I’ve started in Matthew,”Renard said,” and every morning & evening I copy one chapter.”

What would Renard advise others who cannot read/write very well:

“A lawyer told me that not being able to read is like living in Russia and not being able to speak Russian. A friend told me not to be embarrassed. You only need to be embarrassed if you need help and don’t try to get it!”

He also added:

“I would like to help others as I have been helped. I really want to get close to God and focus on Him each day.”

Perhaps soon Renard will attend a 10-hour tutor training workshop and begin to tutor someone as Pastor Dick and Oscar did with him. If you’d like more information on tutoring, please contact the Tulsa Literacy Center at 918-585-3826.

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