Body first, then spirit
Six years ago eight teachers from a remote district of Laos spent one month training with a special ELIC program in Laos which is committed to equipping Lao English teachers to teach well and giving them hope in a hopeless situation. In a follow up observation in their village a few months later, an instructor was surprised to see the teachers singing and teaching “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, which they had learned during their first summer. “This song is really meaningful to us,” they told Linda, “It is about us. We keep getting knocked down by life, but we have to just keep trying and climbing.”
Their trying has paid off. After three years in our program, the English students in this remote little area of mostly minority tribal groups received the highest national test English scores in their province, which includes the capital city of Laos! Our program has reached into EVERY school in 5 districts of the Vientiane province, and all the districts in Xiangkwang province.
“We have worked with many English volunteers,” one teacher told Rebecca last fall, “But something happens when you teach us. We are able to really understand.” This was all the open door Rebecca needed to share how every time we plan and every time we teach we ask the Creator of the world and man to help us teach in such a way that teachers will be able to understand and use our teaching techniques.
Stories like these make our lives and work so meaningful. Rebecca has been working with this program since it’s first year, and continues to be amazed at how quickly these teachers, who can barely speak English when they enter the program, become effective, confident instructors.
Like Nehemiah and Ezra, we are helping a broken society. We help the body first and the spirit next.
Kirby has helped establish XP Trading – a sow farm, feed mill and pig finishing farm. XP buys corn from about 6,000 farmers and sells fattened pigs to a hungry Lao market. Before we started our feed mill and sow farm, there was no domestic market for much of this corn, and surrounding countries like China, Vietnam, and Thailand took terrible advantage of Lao farmers. Before XP Trading there was no Lao-owned domestic method to dry corn, make feed and produce feeder pigs on a large scale. We have developed simple methods to do all of those things and model production for others to follow. Our work gives many opportunities to build relationships, pray for peoples’ needs by name and witness to seen needs. We call these places where we buy corn and meet people Harvest Centers.
XP Trading managers and Lao ministers use our methods to dry grain and make feed to supplement their income. In the process they share Jesus’s story to those they sell goods to in the market place, and people come to Christ through our Harvest Centers. There are churches forming around the Harvest Centers. We are trying to place these Harvest Centers further and further into rural Laos. We have developed a microHarvest Center concept, that can be family sized, but bless a village.
We are so grateful for the ways you have partnered with the Rogers family in this exciting work and are happy to have an opportunity to share what He has been doing in Laos.