Why English Learning for Missions?
When I was maybe 7 years old, a group of missionaries from Chile were hosted by my church. Among them was Elena, an elderly lady that really wanted to communicate but couldn’t. She had a picture Spanish to English dictionary book. She would point at the pictures and say the word in Spanish and I would repeat it until I had the correct pronunciation. It was so fascinating to me that there were other names for things and a different way to communicate.
Speaking a common language is really powerful. It gives us something we have in common right away. We can share our stories. Choosing to learn another language takes a lot of courage. You need the courage to be humbled. Humbled by your own lack of knowledge. There will be embarrassing mistakes, but if you courageously press on past your mistakes, the rewards are worth the wait. As I have traveled around the world, I have been surprised at how spoiled I am to have grown up in an English speaking country. I see influences of English everywhere I go in business, art and culture. More often than not, I have been able to find people that speak at least a little bit of English.
From my own language learning experiences, if you want to learn, you need to immerse yourself in the language everyday, in every setting. The greatest strength of the English Learning for Missions (ELM) course is that you are immersed in the English language for three months. You live on an English speaking international base in Lausanne, Switzerland – right in the center of Europe. Your class time is in English, your social time is in English and your ministry time is in English. You are able to learn how to read, write, listen, pray and worship in English. It is not easy, but you are never alone. You will have a caring school staff and new friends from all over the world that will patiently wait for you to speak and practice what you are learning.
One of the best benefits of spending time on a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base anywhere are the friendships you make. Friends you will keep across the oceans and over the years. People that are passionate about knowing God and making Him known. Do you want to meet them? They would love to meet you.
Spending three months in Switzerland may be one of the greatest adventures of your life. There is rich Christian history here that is still evident in the lingering presence of peace throughout the entire country. I love to walk in the forest and listen to God. There are places to sit and read. There are mountains to climb and lakes to view. Are you looking for a God-sized adventure? I think I have found one.
Claire, (USA) completed her DTS in Tyler, Texas, and is now on staff with YWAM Lausanne. She will be leading the ELM course starting in October 2017.