English is Italian for ‘outreach’

Posted on April 2, 2013 by VMMissions Staff

If we wanted, we could be full-time English teachers here in Bari even though we have never had a single lesson on how to teach English! Our mother tongue has opened doors for us to be able to share our faith with many people in our community.

A little more than two years ago, we began helping at Micah’s (and now Adam’s) middle school with conversational English. One of the most important things this work has accomplished is to build trust between our family and the community and also between the community and our church family.

There are a number of activities that we do as a church that benefit from our English contacts. Our “Happy Week” activities expanded to two weeks this past summer due in part to these relationships built at school. Our youth group, “Tribe’s Impact,” has almost as many kids from the community as from our church! We host an English Club at our church facilities and it is a direct result of requests from parents in our community for English lessons for their children. We have also been able to host a religion class from the middle school in order to talk about the differences between Catholic and Protestant/Evangelical beliefs.

Tribe’s Impact at Centro Koinonia.

Tribe’s Impact at Centro Koinonia. Courtesy of author


In all of these activities, we have had more than one opportunity to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others. People ask us quite often, “Why are you here?” and “Why do you do this?” These questions allow us to share Christ. We are able to show that it is a relationship, not a religious practice that truly makes a difference in this life.

English: it is not the Gospel but for us here in Bari, God is using our first language to share his grace, hope and love in Italian.


An English class that Chris Riddle (left) teaches at his son Adam’s middle school in Bari, Italy.

An English class that Chris Riddle (left) teaches at his son Adam’s middle school in Bari, Italy.Courtesy of author

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