by Bronson Lobato
When my friend Chris and I first came to Cambodia, we didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but one thing we could always agree on was this: that we would never become English teachers. Fast forward 3 years and here we are creating our very own language school. Why you ask? Well it turns out there is reason English teaching and missions seem to always go hand in hand. It’s effective and it works. There is something uniquely personal about learning a second language and it is common for someone to start as a student and end as a friend. It is our hope that by building relationships through an English program as many Khmer as possible will come to the saving knowledge of Christ. That is why we do what we do, so that Christ would be known and that those who are far off would be brought near.
- A Church in Mind: The first and foremost goal of the program is to bring about the creation of a Church. Not a building, but a group of people who swear allegiance to Christ and his commands. It is our hope to accomplish this through the relationship we establish with our students and from the preaching and sharing of the Gospel. It is our hope that this church will function without a reliance on foreign patronage, and that its members will ultimately take responsibility for themselves and their brothers and sisters long after we are gone.
- Limited Students: For the average missionary there is always a temptation to start big programs and report big numbers. With bigger programs comes more funding and a certain level of prestige. Unfortunately, this often comes at the expense of effectiveness, as individual fail to receive the attention they need. This is why we will be limiting our class size to 12 people (6 per leader) per year. Such small class sizes will ensure our students are not only getting the individualized attention they need as English learners but also ensure that we are able to form those deeper connections that will be vital to sharing the Gospel.
- Focus on Fluency: A big reason both Chris and I got TEFL certified was our desire, not only to bring people to Christ, but to ensure our students are entering a program worth their time. Each student that enters our program will be frequently evaluated on their language skills and be pushed to make real progress towards fluency. The best advertising will be our students’ success and it’s our hope that in time our program will develop a reputation of professionalism.
- Student Investment: Some people would be surprised to know that we plan on charging students to learn with us if they do not show up to class… “Aren’t you supposed to be a ministry?” they ask. While true, we are a ministry, it is also important that our students are invested in their own English education, something that will not happen if we give lessons for free without consequence for absences. Again, we don’t want to foster a sense of dependence in our students but have them to take responsibility for their own betterment.