Derek put his head ‘round my office door, “Have you got a minute?” At this point I had been at my desk, in my new role, for a few hours. I had 3 file cabinets to pour through and a weekend of work ahead of me, but of course I said, “Sure.”
“Tomorrow at around one pm, 25 South Koreans will arrive for the Conversational English Programme that you will teach and supervise.”
“Tomorrow at one, 25 South Koreans, to teach and supervise . . . conversational English?” My voice ran down, following my heart into my shoes.
“Didn’t C.K. tell you in the orientation meeting you had with him this morning?”
“No, we only talked about the autumn intake of students.”
“I am certain you will come up with something, I had better let you get back to it.”
Sitting at my desk I thought of how many times I had seen C.K. drop people in it and now it was my turn. How convenient that he was out of the office for the rest of the day. I looked hurriedly through a few file drawers deciding there was nothing to be found in there and then I stopped.
What was I doing? Who was in charge? Who had the plan already in place for this six- week course? Putting on my headphones I put on a worship CD and calmed down to listen. Opening my Bible to the Psalms I waited for God to speak. After a few minutes I prayed, “Lord, I hand these 25 young people to you. Please work through me to encourage them in their learning English and times of evangelism. I am listening for your plan on what and how to begin this programme. What do you want for them?”
I stood at the entrance to the Training Center on Saturday as 25 tired young Koreans dragged their cumbersome luggage through the door. I welcomed each one, hugging the women and shaking hands with the men. Beyong Kang, my South Korean colleague also welcomed them speaking rapidly in Korean. Together we lead them into the dining room for a refreshing luncheon.
Gathering in the main conference room we began. “We praise God that you have arrived, we know you are tired so we won’t keep you now. Please rest and we will meet again on Monday morning at 8 for devotions. English fun will begin at 9 am and NO grammar will be taught!” Many gasps were heard in the group. Beyong Kang then told them about meals, church services and a few community rules.
As I slipped into my office, on my desk was a note from C.K., containing one word, “Sorry”, on top of a file stack, labeled English Conversation Course! All the hours I had spent until early in the morning designing a syllabus, that already existed. I was deliciously tempted to pile the files on his desk with a note, “Thanks, I don’t need these!” Instead I found an empty space in a file drawer and put them back to use for ideas and reference.
Monday afternoon as I sat at my desk going over Tuesday’s lesson plan C.K. and Derek walked in and asked together, “How did it go?”
“You would need to ask the students, but I was pleased. I threw the male dominated aspect of their culture out the window, and as a result, the women answered and even asked questions”
“You did WHAT!!” Derek exclaimed while C.K. smirked knowingly.
“Sorry, got to run, a student needs to see me,” as I walked out the door, hoping Derek could get his jaw back in place soon. I knew the phone would ring at home sometime that evening, and it did.
At the end of our conversation Derek expressed serious concerns over my methods but said, the syllabus sounded healthy. “Could I see the handouts planned for each day?”
I responded, “They are powerfully small in number.”
“Just answer one question, are you an activist for women's rights in the church?”
Dropped in it again, but not destroyed. I answered, with what I hoped was, a God-inspired verbal handout, “No more than Jesus was when he talked theology to the Samaritan woman or sent Mary, on Easter morn, to tell the disciples he had arisen from the dead.”
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