‘A land of cashew nut trees, bustling markets and vibrant music; a people of impossible generosity and irresistible positivity; a year of teaching and being taught – my trek to Guinea Bissau changed me in so many ways.’
‘My primary role was to support a small missionary team in Ingore, in the north of Guinea Bissau, by teaching English in their youth centre. This was a way of reaching out to local young people, to help with their studies and career prospects, but more importantly, to share the love of Jesus with them. We studied Bible stories as reading texts and memory verses as pronunciation practice, and my students loved learning English worship songs.
‘Alongside working in the youth centre, I was able to spend time with the children in my street, singing songs, playing games and teaching them Bible stories. I also helped with the youth group at the local church, many of whom became firm friends, and I painted murals, gave guitar lessons, ran Easter parties for the Sunday school group – there was so much to get involved with.
‘To say that life in Guinea Bissau is different from the West would be an understatement. My house had no running water or mains electricity. I grew accustomed to reading by candlelight, washing my clothes by hand, eating rice every day and getting all of my water from a well. I found that as I lived amongst the people of Ingore and slowly learnt their language and way of life, I earned their trust, and I was welcomed by the local church family, who were incredibly kind and patient with me.
After teaching English for a year, I realised that God could use me in this area in the long term
‘After teaching English for a year, I realised that God could use me in this area in the long term, so since returning to England, I have completed a teacher training course and will be starting a linguistics degree this September. After that, I hope to use English teaching as a “way in” to telling people about Jesus.
‘But more important than what I did during the year is what God did. Through me, I hope he demonstrated his love to many people. He challenged me deeply to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly in all areas of my life. Perhaps most importantly, through my mistakes, he showed me that he loves me in my failures and in my shortcomings, as well as in my successes and my joys.
‘I would wholeheartedly recommend a trek to anyone who wants to serve God and his people, to explore another part of the world, and to use their gifts to bless others. My advice would be that you aim to bless your fellow missionaries (who are often tired and in need of encouragement,) and that you go with an open heart and an open mind. May God bless you!’
Do you want to serve God, experience a different culture and use your gifts? Click here to find out more about WEC’s short term missions.
Find out more about our Teaching English ministry
Teaching English provides the student with a vital skill, and offers the teacher a chance to build relationships and share the gospel. WEC has many opportunities for you to teach the English language to adults and young people: to immigrants and students here in the UK, and in schools, colleges, universities or private tuition, overseas. A TEFL qualification is very useful in this, and WEC are happy to recommend several UK-based TEFL courses including Christian TEFL.
We need you to get involved
Find out more about how you could become an English teacher.