Anyone who’s ever gone to an LWML, LEA or LCMS district convention has seen exhibitor tables, where companies and organizations distribute brochures and free giveaway items like pens, keychains or stress balls.
Chances are, the stress ball you pick up might be from an imprinting company called Ariel Premium Supply, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. And the logo printed on that stress ball might have been placed there by one of Ariel’s English-language students – who are being introduced to Jesus Christ by human resources employee Becky Shaw, through LHF’s translations of A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories.
“Many of the people in Ariel’s production department are new immigrants,” explained Becky, an LCMS pastor’s wife who has worked at Ariel since late last summer. “One of the bonuses of their employment is the opportunity to learn English during their lunch periods. So I teach more than 30 students in six different classes, plus one-on-one classes.”
As she searched for good teaching materials for her students, Becky recalled that LHF provides easy-to-read Bible storybooks in the Chinese and Vietnamese languages. Fortunately, the company president and majority of the managers are Christian, and they didn’t mind that Becky would be sharing the faith as part of her teaching.
“Some of the students are Christian, including Catholic, but the majority have no religion at all,” Becky said. “But they are open to learning about American holidays.”
So in December, Becky led the class in reading A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories in English, so they could learn how and why the celebration of Christmas began. Then, as a gift, Becky presented them with LHF translations of the same book, in their own languages.
While the classes are language-focused, questions about the content have come up. “Hopefully, our study whets their appetite. Last week, one [of my students] asked what ‘sin’ meant. So I had a chance to explain,” she said. “This week’s lesson is on the promise of the Savior to Adam and Eve after their fall into sin.”
Becky said she believes anyone who has basic teaching skills should keep their eyes open for opportunities like hers.
“The first step would be finding out if there an interest [for a program like this] among the associates [in the workplace],” she said. “It can be advertised as ‘English class’ or ‘English class using the Bible.” We do not want to trick them into coming so we can share the Gospel, but we hope that what they hear in English or their native language would produce reception to the Holy Spirit’s call.”
Now that her husband has retired from active ministry, Becky is thankful for the many blessings God has given her through her new position.
“I love this job because God has transferred my ‘mission’ from our church members and visitors to the immigrants at this company,” she concluded.
Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.