華僑福音廣播中心
Chinese Gospel Broadcasting Center
109 Lafayette Street, #801 New York, NY 10013, USA
Tel: (212) 925-6229/ Fax: (212) 925-2690
e-mail: info@cgbc.org/ http:// www.cgbc.org
 

 

Mission Project in Partnership with a Local Church:
Reaching Young Mothers in the Chinese Community

How It Began:
One of Chinese Gospel Broadcasting Center's main mission is to reach the local Chinese community in New York City, which is made up of immigrants from different Chinese villages. When Grace Alliance Chinese Church, a local church, wanted to reach the community around 8th Avenue in Brooklyn, CGBC immediately got involved. We offered the church materials in the form of tracts, and gospel tapes made in the different Chinese dialects.

With our new involvement with Grace Alliance Church, we became aware of the Church's newly developed children's program where the parents involvement was minimal; the parents left the kids for classes and then returned later to pick them up. CGBC suggested that the children's program was a great opportunity to minister to the mothers as well. This is when it all started. CGBC began talking about conducting an English class for the adults using the Good News English Course, an English program already used by many missionaries, but that hadn't been put into use in the local mission field yet. We thought it would fit the needs of the Chinese families well enough to experiment with the course.

Goals:
A large problem in the immigrant Chinese family is the separation of generations. The American born children are taught English and American culture while the parents speak only their own dialects and hold fast to their
Chinese culture and heritage. Our ultimate longing is that they would all have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. With Jesus as their savior, we hope that the different generations could learn to relate to one another and bridge the gap between them. We feel that if we could reach the mothers with Jesus, the children and the family would be blessed and unified.

We are grateful that we at CGBC were able to partner with Grace Alliance Church. This program was designed to meet the mothers' temporal needs by teaching English, but its ultimate goal is to cater to the women's greatest need of all-knowing Jesus. We build relationships and support groups with the mothers to help them build stronger relationships with their children. Teaching them English can help foster meaningful dialogs with their children, who are growing up in a non-Chinese speaking community, as well as helping them feel more comfortable in their American community.

The Weekly Program:
Christine Radcliff - Teacher / Susan Lu - Assistant / translator / Jane Tam - Coordinator / church minister
First semester: April 10, 1999-June 12, 1999
Second semester: October 2, 1999- December 18, 1999

Each semester is 10 weeks. Every Saturday from 10am to 12pm the mothers come to the church to learn English. Part of the lesson is based on the Good News English Course, a set of stories, songs, and grammar exercises based on the Bible. Overall, this past year has been a time of experimenting with the lessons and different approaches to see what is effective and fun for the students. During the ten weeks we cover such things as sentence structure and basic pronunciation. Our main focus in the English class is conversation and pronunciation so much of the class time is devoted to allowing the students to practice their new conversational skills.

As well as teaching English, the church provides outings, parties, and other activities for the mothers. One objective of these events is for the mothers to spend time with their children and with other mothers in the community.

Mothers' Response:
The mothers' response, especially in this past semester, has been positive. The mothers have loved the class and have found it to be very fun and exciting to learn English with us. Each week the students have come with lots of energy and have sat through the class almost on the edges of their seats. At the end when it is time to stop, they don't leave. They continue to practice and ask questions.

Church's and Teacher's Assessment:
As their teacher, it has been very wonderful to see the students have such motivation to learn English. One reason, I think, for the success is that I have kept them talking. I have minimized my teaching as much as possible and let them think and practice quite a bit. That is when they really learn, when I am not just talking in front of them, but when they are trying and thinking for themselves. This semester I really did not do much reading with them.

From the point of view of the church, the missions committee has found that this has great potential for reaching many families in Brooklyn Chinatown. When we started a year ago, there were no real expectations, only unknowns. And in one semester, the program has grown from 6 mothers to 9 mothers, with one beginning to attend church regularly.

Future Vision:
The Chinese community here in New York City is in great need to be reached. It currently exists separately from the rest of the city. As seen by our experience, by the reaction of the mothers in our program, and by our sponsoring church, our program has a great chance to reach out to and help the Chinese immigrants living here in New York City.

We anticipate that more mothers will sign up for this program. As more mothers come to sign-up, we will need more teachers and resources. There is great potential to run more classes in different levels at this church, as well as at other churches. These churches can then provide the local Christian setting for follow up, children programs, fellowship, and Sunday worship. Our outreach can also be a base for ESL teachers to do field work. CGBC is willing to partner with colleges who need mission fields for their students. In the past, CGBC has accepted students for internships. We provide supervision during the time students come to CGBC. We also long to engage with more mission-minded churches and individuals in reaching these new immigrant families.

Reported by Christian Radcliff, student intern and Eileen Liu, Mission Director of CGBC February 1, 2000.