Cornerstone’s 5th annual ESL Ministries conference sees record attendance.

By April 4, 2006

USA (MNN) — Even as teachers for English as a second language are in high demand worldwide, Cornerstone University hosted nearly one-hundred people at its 5th annual ESL Ministries Conference last weekend.

The conference gave practical teaching tips and ideas for using ESL as a ministry, and conference director Doctor Michael Pasquale is pleased with the outcome. Each year has seen steady growth in the number of attendees, which has a greater impact on effectiveness. Pasquale is, “just excited to see how this has grown over the years, and how it’s meeting needs of people and churches, not only locally, but regionally. It’s good that we had a good balance of how to actually teach a class and also how to do it as a ministry. So, a lot of good practical sessions and interactions with people.”

Pasquale is thankful for MNN’s role in getting the word out about the conference, “When we started this conference, it was really a local conference, but now through Mission Network News, people have heard about it nationwide. We’ve had people from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and this whole area come because of hearing it on Mission Network News.”

It’s been an encouragement to Pasquale to see how the conference has become a strong program, through presenters, attendees and the materials made available. The conference provides connections and resources to make the ESL classes and ministries more effective in their communities. Pasquale says, “It’s really been nice for them to feel not so alone and to see there’s all this help locally and otherwise for them to connect with.”

Active in ESL ministry for over 40 years, Conference speaker J. Wesley Eby says, “There’s no question that the opportunities are worldwide, and where English has really become the language of trade and communication and commerce around the world, people are wanting to learn English, and so the opportunities are boundless, endless.”

And Eby is excited to see how God uses ESL as a tool to transform lives. “It’s a valuable ministry, for God has brought the mission field to us. And with people coming to the United States, as new immigrants, as refugees, and many of them have a need of learning English to survive in this culture. So the church has the wonderful opportunity to minister to these people.”

Eby says he’s grateful for the opportunities God gives to lead people to Christ through ESL as a ministry, , “We can’t do the work of the Holy Spirit, but we can set the stage, we can establish the environment, for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives. I think that’s what the church needs to do. The Bible tells us to love the foreigner, the stranger, as we love ourselves…But I believe we can do that, and through an ESL ministry that’s one way we can.”

He encourages believers to recognize the potential for great impact in people’s lives,
“My prayer for the church is that they would see the need with the immigrants, the refugees that have come to the United States and use this as an opportunity to reach them for Christ, and the beginning point is through learning English.”

Next year’s conference is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, 2007. Go to www.cornerstone.edu/academics/tesl/esl_conf for more information.

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