by Betty Young
Our ESL ministry has been serving the Rockspring community for many years. I speak on behalf of every ESL teacher when I say that our most pressing desire is to share the Gospel with our students. As we teach our classes, our foremost thought is the salvation of each and every student. Yes, we can teach English, help them become US citizens, help tutor their children and even befriend them, but our best gift is and will always be salvation. Salvation is the most precious and costliest gift we can give our students. It meets the greatest need, brings the greatest blessing and has the most lasting results.
Pre-COVID19 we often saw our students every Tuesday and Thursday evening nine months out of the year. Some of the teachers saw them more often than their own family members. No wonder that we care so much for them. And now, during these COVID19 times, teachers have continued to keep in touch. We have provided our students free food boxes provided by our church and we hope and pray that we will one day be able to serve again as ESL teachers.
It was at our December 2019 ESL Christmas party that Minh and Ha announced to me that they had plans to relocate in another state. I was saddened with the news, but we exchanged cell numbers and hoped to keep in touch. With the births of three new grandbabies, I was quite busy in the first quarter of 2020. And then the pandemic happened. Shelter-In-Place was put in effect and all our ESL classes were cancelled. In the months that followed I often wondered whether Minh and Ha had relocated.
Early October 2020, I received a text from Minh informing me that in two weeks’ time, they would be travelling to Atlanta where they had friends and where jobs awaited them. I called him immediately, wished him well and ended with a prayer that God would protect them, keep them healthy and bless them in their new life in Atlanta.
I remember as clear as day the October-21st call I received from Minh. He informed me that their car had broken down and that they were stranded somewhere in the Arizona desert waiting for a tow truck. He asked me to pray for them. That was all he wanted. He just wanted me to pray for them. So right there in the middle of that terrible situation, we prayed.
Now of all my students in the Introduction Class (which was the class for immigrants just arriving in the US with no English whatsoever), Minh probably spoke the best English, but he could not tell me and I could not understand everything that was happening. As soon as we hung up, I texted all the ESL teachers to pray for these students who were stuck with no way to communicate. I called our Vietnamese speaking teachers to call to encourage them and find out what the exact situation was and if we could help in any way.
Our wonderful Vietnamese speaking teachers (Grace Le, Ada Yue, Joyce Tran, Tiffany Wong, and Van Nguyen) found out that while Minh was driving something dropped off from the vehicle just ahead of him and he could not avoid crashing into it. It got trapped under his car and before he could safely drive to the side, it ripped off the bottom of his car and all the liquids—gasoline, oil, etc., gushed out. By the time he was able to maneuver safely to the side of the road, his gas meter read empty. They sat in their car not knowing what to do—they were in a strange place and knew no one to call for help. It was at that moment God reminded Minh that they had Teacher Betty’s cell number and that was when I received Minh’s call that October 21st morning.
A police car finally came and offered to call a tow truck, but it was another three hours before the tow truck finally arrived. They went to two car repair shops (which told them they could not accommodate such an immense overhaul) before they finally decided to go to the dealership 70 miles away in the opposite direction. When they finally arrived at the dealership, Minh could not communicate with the people there. Praise God, just at that time, his auto insurance called, and Minh was able to direct the dealership people to talk to his insurance agent on his cell phone. Praise God again because they were able to work out a deal where Minh just had to pay the deductible.
It has been three long weeks and Minh and Ha are still waiting in Arizona for the car to be repaired. No doubt, the extended delay has been hard, but our teachers have been faithfully calling and encouraging them with prayers and words to lift their spirits. Some have had opportunities to translate with the repair shop regarding the reasons for the delay.
God provided other ways for our teachers to show love. Praise God, Teacher Joyce sent a package of dry Vietnamese soup noodles via Amazon and Minh and Ha were thrilled. Praise God, Teacher Ben, who just happened to have a trip planned in Arizona, was able to stop by their motel, give them words of encouragement, as well as some cash, and deliver fresh Vietnamese groceries. All these simple gestures moved Ha to tears, encouraged them and stirred them to praise our Father in Heaven!
Finally, Teacher Ada was able to share with Minh and Ha about God’s love and His desire for all people to know Him and worship Him. She sent them the link to our Vietnamese church so that they can listen to the Sunday sermons. Minh and Ha have assured us that they will seek a Vietnamese congregation in Atlanta. There is so much more that could be included in this miraculous story of answered prayers and God’s love for unbelievers, but it would only make this article too long and unwieldy.
Indeed, this story is not yet finished. Would you join us in praying for Minh and Ha’s safe arrival in Atlanta? We praise God again and again for His plans and His purposes to save all people everywhere!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” ~~John 3:16
All praise and glory to God!