Sunday, July 23, 2017

ESL Camp

A few years ago, I volunteered to help with a new ESL Camp our church was helping with.  I was teaching high school math to some girls from Iraq in burqas.  The attendees decided to quit coming after two weeks because Ramadan started.  I was a little deflated.

But our church has a second, well-established camp that has been going for years.  Since we are going to Greece this summer to help with refugees, I decided I needed to jump back in to helping refugees here in Knoxville.  Once again, this camp was during Ramadan.  But the Muslim kids just ignored the snacks and joined right in with everything else.

I really enjoyed hanging with these kids.  One boy in our group, Jackson, just beamed ALL THE TIME.  He was from Burundi.  We were trying not to be pushy with spiritual things, but Jackson wanted to share the gospel with me!  Next year I hope to be involved for the entire six weeks of camp.

As part of cultural acclimation, here the kids are learning to sing Rocky Top!

Here's my buddy, Jackson, playing a trust game.  Jackson is a Hutu, and his father was killed before his family fled from Africa.

Here they were making a poster contrasting their home culture and America.  Jackson painstakingly worked to make his USA flag as exact as possible.  He loves America - especially donuts!  All the boys in our group LOVE American food.  Who wouldn't?

During the Bible lesson, Issa (a guy from our church who grew up in Bethlehem as a Palestinian Christian) translates into Arabic:

And this girl who has been here a few years translated into Swahili:

All the kids this year spoke either Arabic or Swahili.  Some have been here a few months and some a few years.  I learned to use Google Translate, which is great practice for our upcoming trip to Greece.

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