Happy Friday y’all! Welcome back to another What’s Your Story installment where Literacy Connexus features real stories from ESL volunteers, teachers, and ministry workers about their experiences, thoughts, trials, and successes in adult ESL. Today I have a wonderful story from one of our very own TEX trainers, Kathleen Yarborough. Apart from leading teacher training sessions with Literacy Connexus, Kathleen is also the Community Ministries Director at City Rise Church. Keep reading to hear about one of Kathleen’s students Larysa, and how she went from an ESL student to an assistant ESL teacher in the same program with a little faith and a whole lot of hard work.

Larysa joined our ESL class in the fall of 2014. She is from Ukraine and had moved to Houston to join her husband. In our ESL classes we have a very short 20 question interview. The questions move from easier to harder. Where the student can no longer answer lets us know which level they likely are. One of the harder questions is “Let’s pretend a friend tells you his mother is ill. What would you say?”  When I asked Larysa this question, she began to cry. She was missing her mother terribly and the situation in Ukraine was very difficult on her mom. We were able to talk about it and pray. Larysa began to be a regular attendee in our classes and she I became friends, sharing our love of travel and animals.

Sometime later, Larysa and I began to study the book of John together. When we got to John 3:16, I asked if she had ever asked Jesus to be her personal Lord and Savior. She said she had not, and we stopped right then, and she prayed to ask Jesus into her heart. What a great day! Larysa continued to come to ESL classes and did everything she could do to improve her English. She volunteered in our office for extra English practice and prepared her mother-in-law for the citizenship test, which she passed with flying colors! Prior to the pandemic, Larysa was a loyal ESL volunteer helping with registration and even teaching our Level 1 class on occasion. She currently is an assistant teacher in one of our Zoom classes.

In June 2019, Larysa herself became a U.S. citizen. Last year she was recognized by the City Sugar Land as Civilian of the Year for her work with the Sugar Land Police Department. In February of this year, Larysa celebrated five years working for the City of Sugar Land.

Does one ESL program matter? Do ESL teachers impact the lives of students? Of course, the answer is a resounding YES. Most importantly, the student lives that are touched in turn touch others.  This is why I do what I do!

Do you want to share your story? Or maybe you would like your program to be featured on our blog? If so, please send us an email at info@literacyconnexus.org. We would love to hear from you! As always, blessings and happy teaching.