Substantial Growth Demands Decision
In the spring of 2008 we had four teachers and 33 students, but things were about to change. That fall we reached our capacity for the community center with a total of 72 students. Besides the two classrooms, we had a class in the kitchen and four classes in the large room with partitions between them. A student could listen to four different lessons at the same time. The children met and played games outside. We had eight volunteers teaching five levels of English, including a B (Beginner) level for students who knew little to no English. A new citizenship class, taught by Nancy Maddox, was also added. New teachers were Tina Meeks, Anna Hurley, Roberto Diaz, Shawndee Edenfield, Betty Washburn, and Lorri SeGraves. That was the first year we had such a large group of new volunteers. For six years we had had three or four teachers each year with very few transitions. John and I had been there from the beginning. That was one of the keys to the stability and success of our ESL, which Cindy Harrison had pinpointed as important.
We knew we had to have more room and discussed the possibility of moving our ESL to our Southcliff Church building. We questioned whether the Muslims who had been attending would come if classes were held in a Baptist church. We soon learned the answer. Our church staff met and agreed for us to begin meeting at our church. In January of 2009 we moved to a large room on the second floor of the education building called the loft, surrounded by classrooms that were more than adequate at the time for all our students.
A change in location meant other changes followed. The number of students exploded almost immediately. We didn't realize at the time that World Relief, Catholic Charities, and Refugee Services of Texas had begun to settle refugees and immigrants at The Fountains, a large apartment complex across I-20 from Southcliff Church. God's timing was right on. If we had had large numbers of students when we had only three or four teachers, we would have been overwhelmed, but God had grown us slowly and prepared us for what would soon become more than one hundred students.
Fall 2008 - Bursting at the Seams