ESL Class, week 1: I raise you three grape Skittles.

The kids in my class play poker over lunch break, betting with Skittles.

They’re actually pretty good at the game.

Asian culture is different. In three weeks, I’ve gone from Mexico to Micronesia… and I’ve never experienced such contrasts. The seven- to thirteen-year-olds in my class here are as silently reserved as the Mexican kids were enthusiastically outgoing.

Mexico was a walk in an air-conditioned park compared to this.

Here, I’m the teacher of a class of mini-adults. Seven out of these eight mini-adults had never heard the gospel before coming to Eucon this summer. Half the kids in my class don’t understand anywhere near enough English to get the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. But after last week, at least they know John 3:16 by heart. The English will come.

If only I could speak Korean and Mandarin–forget the English opportunities! Here are kids who don’t know who Jesus is! And I have them for six whole hours a day!

Suddenly the poker-playing doesn’t seem like a big deal. At all.


  1. Many of us here at home are praying that God will open hearts of understanding for your students. Beyond your ability to reach these students is the One that can translate across cultures, languages and interest.

  2. Is that Max? And Sean (the Chinese boy was in my sixth grade class last year, but maybe he changed his name…again!)? One or two of the girls look familiar, but names are hard to remember… I like to use Matthias Media’s “Two Ways to Live.” They have a presentation in Chinese but not Korean, unfortunately.

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