Linda & Peter

Linda & Peter in CambodiaLives are being changed just down the road from where we live.

Linda is the coordinator of Carewerx, an outreach ministry of her church which provides ESL and a homework club to refugees from diverse backgrounds.  Its been quite a risky journey of faith for her (and her husband, Peter), from primary school teacher to this role, but they both agree that its been worth it!

Here’s their story:

After completing a Kairos (Missions Awareness) course and a short term missions trip to South East Asia, Linda studied TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). It was after she commenced this study that a friend asked her to train teachers and prepare curriculum for an education project in Phnom Penh involved with street kids. Later, when their church established Bloom Cafe and training centre in Phnom Penh for girls rescued from trafficking, Linda was asked to prepare and implement an English language program.

Peter is managing director of an IT company. Developments in technology have meant he can work from anywhere which has electricity and reliable internet. This meant that, for most of the time in Phnom Penh, they were able to enjoy life together (and really good coffee at Bloom Cafe), while Peter worked from the hotel. Being close by meant his lunch times and breaks were sometimes spent talking computer geek talk with the teenage son of the Australian cafe managers. Other hot Phnom Penh evenings were spent in the hotel pool, where Peter and Linda played with the proxy grandchildren whose missionary parents were from their home church. All of this was a real blessing to that family!

They were also able to catch up with progress on that first project, which had grown to provide education for 1400 children under the care of over a hundred Cambodian staff.

Back in Brisbane, Linda is now coordinator of an outreach ministry from her church. Called Carewerx, it is a centre in Logan, south of Brisbane, which provides ESL and a homework club for refugees and their children. This gives the church opportunities for ministry and Peter and Linda an ongoing connection with people who have left their home countries in difficult circumstances. Recently, Linda had the privilege of baptising a young woman she had met at Carewerx.

This was the young woman’s story:

We left Congo when there was a war and went to a different country, Congo Brassaville. After several years there, we came to Australia as refugees. I had no friends. It was a new life. When I wake up in the morning, it is a safe place, but a different place. We didn’t understand anything. I had to learn a new language again.

I was very confused about my life. I woke up one day, thinking about my life, the beginning and the end, then I made a decision that I needed to be baptised. I am very happy to do that now.

Helping people like this young woman to settle in Australia, to learn English, and to understand the complexities of a different society is now a daily privilege for Linda. Seeing the growth in Christians who come to the centre to tutor or teach is also exciting. They don’t need to buy a plane ticket or give up their regular work to be involved in cross-cultural ministry / work.

“Lives are being changed just down the road from where we live.”

Note from SWN:

If you are interested in this kind of ministry there are many ESL classes, Refugee and Asylum Seeker support programs being run both by Christian and secular organisations. Enquire with your local council, local paper, google free ESL classes, or check with your local library just to get started!

You can use TESOL qualifications in Australia and overseas. If you would like to check out opportunites for helping with English Corners in Australia – maybe there is one near you! – try this website.

If you would like to do a TESOL course there are many available in Australia both through specialist providers or through universities and Bible Colleges. The best way to find one is to  surf the net. One of our partners, Intercultural Training Australia, offers them in various parts of Australia.