Imagine you have recently arrived in a new country. Maybe you have married a local, maybe your husband has come for a work placement, or maybe you are a refugee who can no longer safely live in your home country. You don’t speak the language, you don’t understand the culture or their way of doing things. 

Rather than deal with the stress of trying to communicate with locals, you stay at home and find yourself becoming more and more isolated and dependent on the help of the one or two people you know who can speak your language.

This is the typical scenario we have discovered among the people who attend Grace City Cares ESL classes. However, instead of sitting at home feeling more and more helpless and depressed, they have bravely decided to step out and do something about it by attending our classes. Most have seen the poster in the window of the Food Care shop and decided to drop in on a Tuesday evening or Thursday morning.

What they have found is that they are not alone. There are many others from around the Dee Why area who are similarly feeling isolated, even some from their own culture they have not been aware of. One of the most beautiful things we have seen, however, is barriers being broken down and bonds of friendship being forged between people of different cultures and languages, despite their differences and limitations with language. 

We have seen people from Tibet, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Nepal, India, Iran, Poland, Thailand and Japan, having a shared experience where they feel accepted and loved and where it doesn’t matter if they make mistakes with their English.

So while we are teaching English, we are also facilitating the growth of a small community of people who have in common the desire to break free from isolation that has resulted from their lack of English language. We aim to provide an environment where they can develop confidence in using English and feel there are supportive people to help them and pray for them as they face difficult life adjustments fitting into a new society. We want to be an extension of God’s love for them, reaching out with a genuine concern for their needs.

Our next term of classes start on 26 July (for Tuesday class) and 28 July (for  Thursday class). If you feel you have a heart for people from other cultures and would like to be involved in this ministry please contact me.

David Howitt

0423 172 957