A Very Special Anniversary: The International Ministry Reaching Out in 2017


A Very Special Anniversary: The International Ministry Reaching Out in 2017

Hear these words from Isaiah, prophet of God:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 

-Isaiah 55:11-12

Did you know… the year 2018 is the 40th anniversary of the Ministry to Internationals at Forest Hills Baptist Church? 

It was the fall, September, of 1978 when Forest Hills hosted the very first ESL Teacher Training. A small group of church members were called by God to serve internationals with English-As-A-Second Language instruction and share the Word of God. Praise God for His faithful calling, equipping, and sustaining of His ministry that has reached thousands of people from around the globe the gospel of Jesus, God’s love and provision in our backyard.   

Fast forward 40 years and in 2017, ESL Bible Classes continue every Sunday morning, and Wednesday English Conversation and Local Culture Classes happen each week of the academic year. Last year, more than 320 Bible studies took place. The ministry offered home visits, cultural excursions, adjustment support, local and longer trips to the coast and often to the mountains; all of which allowed internationals and church members to take language learning, Bible study, and community-building on the road and outside the church. Blessed partnerships with Chinese, African, Farsi Fellowship, and Iglesia Bautista La Roca continue to share the gospel in our community through today.

Twenty-one members of Forest Hills along with 6 interns taught ESL and ministered to 185 people in 2017. These students came from 17 different “heart language” backgrounds, in 32 different countries! 

The top 3 countries with the largest numbers of people participating in our English Classes were China (51%), Iran (10%), and South Korea (4%). The next countries with at least 5 students in our classes were: Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela. 

We also had at least one or more students from: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Congo DRC, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Syria, Togo, Turkey, and Vietnam. 

God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus were shared multiple times, and the Holy Spirit of God is actively working in hearts.  His Word will accomplish what God desires and will achieve the purpose for which He has sent it.

We thank God for His work in and among us. We thank the members of Forest Hills for support, prayer, tireless service, and care for the joyous opportunity the Lord has set before us. May we continue to yield and submit to His will. May He be glorified as He is made known among the nations. May His purpose be fulfilled in His Church on the corner of Dixie Trail and Clark Avenue, an intersection of the world.

Stay tuned for more “Did You Know…” praise points about the International Ministry throughout this year.

Jason Payne, International Ministery Coordinator

Jason Payne, International Ministery Coordinator

Kate WeaverComment