Almost every Thursday of the ESL school year, a group of international women, some of whom are struggling to read, meet together to study the Bible. Our resources are a printed version of the NIVR text, pencils and markers, each other, and the Holy Spirit. We read—sometimes haltingly—we talk about those words, we ask questions, we choose a favorite verse, we write a summary sentence, we apply what we have learned to our lives, and we pray for each other. This way of studying is empowering to all of us who internalize the reality that, while we are glad for teachers, we are able to discover Scriptural truths ourselves.

At the end of the year, we invite COS and ESL teacher friends to partner with each student for a full manuscript study (most weeks, Barbara Hampton leads the observation and question-asking). This year we studied the Prodigal Son story and together we pondered just who in the story was lost? Who was found? Was the father a wise (or foolish) father? Why didn’t the story have an ending? What does it mean to share someone else’s joy? And we were transformed by peering into the heart of God’s love and grace.

Countries represented: South Sudan, Dominican Republic, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Indonesia, Myanmar, Canada, and the United States.