“I like the idea of loving people just to love them.” – Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
In an ideal world, all missions would look like this. Loving people just to love them. Not to get something in return, not convince them of anything, but to love them unashamedly simply because they exist. That’s what Jesus did, after all, he lavished those who did not know Him, took a criminals place on the cross, spoke to those that were viewed as lesser and unimportant.
In sharing missional stories of grandeur, the ones that occur in countries far away and result in thousands of unreached people groups coming to know Jesus, we often forget the missional tales of those who have obeyed Jesus in sending others out, in preparing others with the skills to set up their own ministries in those far off lands.
Beulah is one of those who have obeyed Jesus by doing just that. Beulah helped to re-pioneer the TESOL (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) and now runs it on her own. The TESOL is a six week seminar that prepares trainees to teach English locally or internationally. The course focuses on all the tools of teaching English, but with a biblical foundation. I asked her why someone would want to do a TESOL instead of with a different organization or perhaps with a university.
“If you have a missional mind you would want to do one (course) that prepares you to set up a new ministry, how to pioneer. What are the steps that I need to do? How do I do spiritual warfare? How do I go out and find students? How do I assess the students need beyond the classroom?”
Like many of us in missions, this was never Beulah’s long-term plan for her life, but God had other plans. Beulah was a primary school teacher for twenty years in her home country of South Africa, before she came to Harpenden as a trainee on the HIS (Humanities and International Studies) course.
“When I came here to do humanities, in that time God started speaking to me about TESOL…and it being a tool to part of the world that otherwise would be closed to us,” she tells me. “And it really caught my interest because I think in the back of my mind [there was] just a sense from my DTS that God was going to take me into those parts of the world that is closed to the gospel, and that I would want to be ready. I would want to have something in my hand that I could say I want to serve and this is what I have.”
After her HIS she felt distinctly called to stay at YWAM Harpenden, but as a TESOL wasn’t yet running, she began looking around England for another TESOL. As it turned out, no base in England was running one. She spoke with her HIS leader, who suggested she take on the leadership of re-pioneering the TESOL.
“I said no! I didn’t come here to lead schools, you know, this is not me; I’m not called to lead schools! But, you know I always knew, you know when you feel the holy spirit say wait, don’t just push this to the side, think about it, pray about it. Then I always know it’s a done deal because I want to walk in obedience. So, in a sense I’m a reluctant leader, but my heart is obedience.”
“My passion I really think it’s for me to see the trainees who are coming to really see that they have a heart for missions. [That] their heart is really to reach out to the communities that they go to.”
Not only does Beulah now run the TESOL, she also runs English classes throughout the year for local au pairs and others in the area, as well as for YWAM Harpenden mission builders who would like to improve their English. “[An] important part is to really help and serve them to better their English and help them communicate more fluently, but also to set them up for opportunities.
Through these English classes, Beulah has seen two students come to know Jesus, one of which is interested in doing a DTS. Simply by being responsive to the Lord Beulah continues to make a real impact on the surrounding community. She is open and honest about who she is and the God she serves, and all the while still has the ability to meet a real need these people have.
“When I feel particularly burdened with one of them I just ask God to create opportunities and situations so I have an opening to get into and so I walk out in boldness because I’m going to keep my mandate from God.”
Beulah truly lives out this idea of loving people just to love them, both through the TESOL and her English classes. She loves people as a direct mandate from the Lord and fills them up with tools, the fathers heart and sends them out. Hearing Beulah share her stories is such an important reminder to me that regardless of the sphere we work in, the mandate from God to love people is a mandate for our entire lives.
Interested in the TESOL? Check it out here: http://beta.ywamharpenden.orgtraining/tesol/
The next running TESOL is 19 April 2015 – 29 May 2015
Often when you think of missions certain imagines come to mind. I know for myself, images of building wells and orphanages under the African sun pop up immediately. Also skirts, very long, heavy skirts. As it turns out this is missions, but the interesting thing is that it’s only one form of missions. If missions truly is “to go out into all the world and preach the gospel,” then we have to actually go out into all the world; all the world: such as orphanages, but also hospitals, café’s, businesses, media, the list could go on forever. Yet, very rarely do we hear stories of people taking the love of Jesus into their everyday lives as “missions.” And that’s what this blog series is about, bringing a new perspective to this idea of missions, and what it truly means to live missionally focused lives.
Photos: Lauren Malpass