I came to Cactus as the ESL coordinator right after graduating from ONU. After moving here, I was originally shocked at the number of cows in this part of Texas, but more importantly shocked and impressed at the motivation and determination of the students that came to my ESL classes. Now, I am continually inspired by their hard work as they learn English and create goals for the future. The growing number of students come from all over the world, places like Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, North Sudan, and South Sudan.
Each student has their own story, and as I engage with them, I start to hear about bits and pieces of their lives. Learning English can provide them with opportunities to have more education, better paying jobs, understanding of immigration policy, or more confidence in communicating with English speakers.
One student in particular has expressed hope of a better future for his children now that he is here working and learning English. He came to the U.S. over 10 years ago from South Sudan as a refugee. He was concerned with how to support his family left behind in South Sudan. He was able to start working here in Cactus and sends money home to his family. Though it has been difficult, he has come so far in learning English. As we meet for class, I enjoy hearing about his country, and I am saddened by the struggles of his family. He is eager to get started on the long and involved process of bringing them here.
Another one of my students is soon to be interviewed and tested in order to become a U.S. citizen. In our tutoring sessions we go through both ordinary everyday English and the specific English words used in the citizenship test and application. This is to prepare her for the important interview with immigration. The hope is that her English will be sufficient for her to comprehend what is being said and for her to communicate effectively. As you can imagine, this process in a second language can be very nerve-racking.
Your donations to Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center are so meaningful to us. Specifically, they give us the opportunity to offer ESL classes at a very low price making the process of learning English affordable and accessible for the people of Cactus. Please continue to help us give opportunities and hope to the refugees, asylees, and immigrants of Cactus.