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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Teaching English through missions

Wednesday, October 24, 2007  
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By Sarah Gogarty

Let’s Start Talking is now a world-wide ministry sharing the story of Jesus Christ while building relationships. Many people across the globe are looking for a way to learn English, and Let’s Start Talking workers are teaching conversational English through the Gospel of Luke.

Mark and Sherrylee Woodward began Let’s Start Talking at Oklahoma Christian University. The Woodwards, both Oklahoma Christian alumni, spent time in Germany doing mission work and came up with Let’s Start Talking as a new way to reach non-native English speakers.

Since 1980, the Let’s Start Talking organization has been recruiting, training and sending Christians around the world. The Woodwards now live in Texas where Let’s Start Talking is home-based. Recruiters from Let’s Start Talking are sent out from the home base to find people interested in participating.

Kelsey Herndon, Let’s Start Talking recruiter, made his way to Oklahoma Christian earlier this month. He spent time sharing different perspectives on how students can get involved in a trip this summer. Herndon spoke at a Let’s Start Talking meeting Sunday night, an Outreach meeting Monday night and missions chapel Wednesday morning.

While many other mission trips get students involved in making physical changes in a certain area, Let’s Start Talking gets students fully involved. The relationships and learning is much more intense. Aron Wynn, a senior at Oklahoma Christian, is looking forward to her first Let’s Start Talking trip and can already see how it is going to be different than any other trip she has been on.

“I get to sit one-on-one with people and build relationships and evangelize. The other campaigns I have done before were great, but I want to do more than just encourage church members or build things for them,” Wynn said.

Let’s Start Talking makes huge impacts on people who have already gone on trips and came back with a different outlook on life. Students are able to make not only an impact on others but themselves as well. Student Peter Cariaga has been on two trips with Let’s Start Talking and taken leadership roles both within those trips and by recruiting people through word-of-mouth.

“One of the biggest ways is that there are different ways Christianity is practiced,” Cariaga said. “God works in different places in different ways; not bad, just different.”

People often are hesitant about teaching people with language barriers and culture differences. It can be exciting to learn about new cultures and languages. However, if you are teaching English through the Bible, in a country where everyone will not accept what you are teaching, it can be nerve-racking.

Let’s Start Talking works by word-of-mouth both in recruiting and in finding people who want to read with you in other countries. Many new missionaries are unsure if people will care what they are reading.

“People are interested in the story,” Cariaga said.

Other new missionaries are unsure how to tell people about the word because it’s difficult to talk to people of another culture.

“The best way to show people God’s Word is to get to know them,” Cariaga said. “Do not just tell them. You have to live it out.”

Let’s Start Talking gets groups of two to six people together to go out for two to six weeks teaching English and telling others about Jesus. The biggest difference between Let’s Start Talking and other mission trips is that the teams are trained prior to leaving. They make sure, as a team, they are well-trained, well-bonded and ready to work hard. Let’s Start Talking will help participants raise funds to go, share their faith, work effectively and prepare them to solve problems they will encounter in the field.

Many times and places are available every year. Often, host missionary families request a Let’s Start Talking team to come but are turned down. Let’s Start Talking continually needs new mission-driven people who want to make relationships while spreading the Word.

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