Truett-McConnell students used a choreographed, English language song to help teach 44 Hungarians how to speak English. An ESL class is one of many effective ways to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost world.
ESL mission yields four new believers
by Norm Miller
NAGYKANIZSA, Hungary (TMNews)—Through an English class led by Truett-McConnell College seniors in Hungary, four locals found new life through salvation in Jesus Christ.
Ministering June 19–30 in Nagykanizsa, Hungary, the team saw salvific results early, with two teen-aged girls voicing prayers of repentance from sin, and of commitment of their lives to Christ.
“God worked in a mighty way, and two girls at the English camp made Jesus their Lord and Savior,” said Danny Rice.
Rice said one of the girls, accompanied by the other, asked him about his salvation bracelet.
Gathering his classmate, Meagan Taylor, and an interpreter, Rice and Taylor explained what each bead on the bracelet signified.
“After the white bead, I asked the girls if they wanted to receive Christ, and one of them said that she wasn't sure because she knows a lot of ‘religious’ people, and they still do bad things,” Rice said.
“Thankfully, God gave me the words to say, and then she and her friend knew that they wanted to have a personal relationship with God,” Rice said.
On the team’s last day in Hungary, the students met with another mission team from a church in Arkansas that would continue the ESL (English as a second language) class, as the TMC team moved on to Thailand for ministry, there.
During the first week of the class, Rice and Taylor were joined by four other Truett-McConnell College seniors: Brandon Dorsey, Leithton Eldridge, Sarah Fitzsimons and Daniel Gentry.
At a Bible study on the last evening in Hungary, one of the team’s interpreters fell under conviction and gave her life to Christ, as one of the ESL students was praying to trust Jesus as her Savior and Lord, Rice reported.
“The next few minutes were filled with rejoicing and of people sharing stories of how they now saw how God was working through their conversations in this interpreter's heart during the entire time we were there,” Rice said. “The youngest of these girls heard the gospel and said she needed to think about it and wanted to talk about it again the next day,” recalled Daniel Gentry. “By the time she came back for evening activities, she had already made Christ her Lord and Savior and was overjoyed to tell us. It was her profession that God used to lead the other to Christ.”
The young convert had just met the Lord, and in a matter of hours, God was using her testimony to influence others, Gentry said. “It was a reminder that God can use little children for His purposes; and, often times, we may not even know when God is using us.”
One of the new believers told Gentry she “had a strange desire to read the Bible this past month and felt like she was looking for something. With confidence, peace, and joy, she smiled and said, ‘I have found it.’ What a declaration of faith and belief,” Gentry said.
Reflecting on the ESL ministry and his classmates, Gentry said: “Never have I seen a team so unified in sharing the gospel, as well as a team of resident missionaries so supportive of sharing the gospel. At no point was there ever a suggestion to wait to share the gospel or to choose a ‘better’ time. Our time with the missionaries was truly a blessing for all as we built up and encouraged one another in Christ.”
Second time around
Dr. Ed Pruitt -- Truett-McConnell’s world missions center director and associate professor of Christian Studies – led a team last spring to work in an ESL class organized by International Mission Board missionaries, Paul & Tena Brock.
"Truett-McConnell College's emphasis on reaching the lost world with the gospel is a mandate we take seriously," Pruitt said. "Teaching English as a second language is one of many methods we employ as we train students to tell others about Jesus. To have a hosting team like Paul and Tena Brock, whose hearts beat for the lost in Hungary, was a hand-in-glove fit as we all ministered together, again.”
“We were delighted to have students from Truett-McConnell working with us again,” Paul Brock said. “From their visit last year, we knew they would be extensively prepared and be highly motivated students.”
“This group was the ‘A’ team. We could not have chosen better,” Brock added. “The collegians were so open and such good examples for their Hungarian students. Their life in Christ was shining so brightly -- we know that every one of the 44 students who attended the camp saw a personal relationship with Christ fleshed-out.”
“Tena and I could not be more elated. We praise God for using these young people to light up Christ in a clear manner that the Hungarians could see. We are only hoping that some of them will come back soon and help us again,” Brock said. “What a blessing they were not only to the Hungarians, but to Tena and me.”
“We thank Truett-McConnell College for having the kind of world vision that desires and makes a way for young American believers to tell their story of transformation to others outside the USA,” Brock said. “This is a real boost to our work to have Christian young people show that a relationship with our Savior is far more than just a ‘religion’ for old people.”
“The Truett-McConnell team really let their walk match their talk in every way," he added.
Continuing conviction “The need for the gospel is great in Hungary as potentially only one percent of the population is truly born again believers,” Gentry said. “Catholicism has lulled many of the people into a false sense of works-based security while communism has destroyed many through an outright rejection of the existence of God.”
“Perhaps the greatest area of conviction so far has been the realization of the limited amount of interaction I have had with lost souls,” Gentry said. “To watch the relationships that have been formed by the IMB missionaries was truly convicting, and yet I fear that it is so easy to return to life as normal upon returning home. I pray the Lord opens opportunities to begin relationships with those who need the gospel.”
Gentry added that a “doctor does not spend all of his time with the healthy, but rather most of his time at the office where the sick can be healed. Should we, who know the cure for the lostness of the world, not be ever searching for those who have no cure?”
Defining the mission “While preparing my heart and mind for this trip, I really struggled with my own definition of the ‘mission field,’” Sarah Fitzsimons said. “I've known all along that the whole world is a mission field, but my mental picture was always one of dusty roads filled with little African children -- mostly because, up until now, I had only been on international trips to African countries.”
Noting that her definition reflected a “small vision of missions,” Fitzsimons said that, “after meeting the Hungarian people, God really began working on my heart in big ways, tearing down *my* view of missions, and redefining it, broadening it in a sense.”
“As I began to fall in love with the people of Nagykanizsa, God showed me that the mission field is not a country nor a geographic location. The mission field is the people,” she said. “And when God said, ‘Go,’ He didn't have a place in mind; God had people in mind.”
“We go wherever the people are,” Fitzsimons said. “Whether it's Ethiopia, Rwanda, Hungary, or Thailand, the place isn't really what matters, the people do.”
“God used these precious Hungarians to teach me a simple but powerful lesson,” she said. “His heart is for people of all nations. God's heart is for the world. John 3:16!”