A Land of Gentle People
Six WEI teachers spent the month of February in Yangon and found Myanmar to
be a land of sweet, gentle, and hospitable people.
On Friday, February 1, Bill and Marie-Claire McDonough, Russ and Rosemary
Burcham, Leonard Blake, and I landed in Yangon and checked into our hotel.
There, in the conference room, we would teach fifty students (most of them
Buddhists) for a month.
The primary religion in Myanmar is
Theravada Buddhism. Thousands of Buddhist pagodas dot the landscape
throughout the nation. The most famous shrine in the country is the
Shwedagon Pagoda located near downtown Yangon. This pagoda is covered with
gold. Hundreds of precious jewels adorn the top of the spire.
In sharp contrast with the opulence of Shwedagon Pagoda, most people in
Myanmar live in semi-poverty, working for $1.00 a day.
House Churches in Yangon
Each Sunday morning, we worshiped with the church that meets in the home of
Sheila and Winsome Vertannes. Before entering the house, we removed our
shoes. Inside, local Christians sat on the floor to worship, but chairs were
provided for the Americans. The Burmese Christians probably knew we would
not be able to get up after sitting crosslegged for an hour.
The Church Meets in the Vertannes’ Home
The man with glasses and a white shirt in
the picture became a Christian several years ago when a missionary came to
Yangon and taught him about Jesus using WEI materials. It was a thrill to
meet him and to know that God has been taking WEI to distant places without
our knowledge or effort.
On Sunday afternoons at 4 o’clock, we worshipped with the church that meets
in the home of a devout Christian woman named Esther. I took my turn
preaching through an interpreter at both house churches.
During the week, each of us taught seven or eight students each day, usually
one-on-one, one hour each. We began teaching at 8:00 a.m. and finished at
5:00 p.m. It was gratifying to watch the faith of our students grow.
My brightest student was a young girl by the name of Lee May. She virtually
memorized every Bible lesson and never forgot a name.
Lee May Studies Bible Lesson
One student, Soe Min, gave me a book on
the Teachings of the Buddha in an effort to convert me. But little by
little, he warmed up to Jesus Christ.
My favorite student was Hnin Ei Ei Aung, a young female attorney. Although
she was a Buddhist, Ei Ei was very receptive to the gospel, but during our
final class period she said, “Now I have two sources of power in my life,
Jesus and Buddha.” I replied, “I’m glad you believe in Jesus. Let’s continue
to study by email.”
Buddhist Nuns Enroll in WEI
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the day five Buddhist nuns came to the
hotel and asked to study with us. They had seen the notice that Bill
McDonough had posted in an Internet Café.
Buddhist Nuns Come to Learn English
We gave WEI materials to each of them and
asked them to study Lesson One before coming to class the next day. Four of
them returned, and I taught them as a group.
Supetteyya (the nun in the blue robe) asked, “Does it bother you that we are
I replied, “Not at all. In fact, I am delighted to have an opportunity to
study with you.”
That set the stage for a relaxed and cordial relationship. They were excited
about studying with me, and I was excited about teaching them. They were
gentle, loveable, intelligent young women. They seemed almost hypnotized by
the power of God’s Word. I was disappointed when they told me they had to
stop coming. Nevertheless, the seed has been sown.
22 WEI Students Graduate in
George S. Tengbeh, II coordinates the School of Evangelism in Weala, Margibi
County in Liberia. George makes use of every educational tool available.
George writes, “On March 9, 2008, the School of Evangelism graduated many
students from three different schools. The three schools are Sunset
International Bible Institute, World English Institute, and International
Bible School of South Africa.
Ten students graduated from Sunset International Bible Institute, twenty-two
from World English Institute, and thirty-eight from International Bible
School of South Africa (a correspondence school).
Some of the students at the School of Evangelism are also studying
NationsUniversity courses. Moreover, George is also working with World
WEI Graduates at the Liberia School of Evangelism
Here is a prime example of evangelistic
ministries working together to build up the kingdom of God. We are not
competitors. We are partners-in-Christ.
Seven Baptisms in Liberia
John Travis reports that seven persons, including Esther Harris, were
baptized in Totota, Liberia recently as a result of evangelistic work done
by him, George Tengbeh, and others.
Esther Harris Is Baptized in Liberia
John was an effective evangelist in
Buduburam, a Liberian refugee camp in Ghana. Now, in Liberia, he continues
to teach others, using WEI and WBS materials.
George and John need materials. A one-time contribution of $1,000 would
enable us to send free WEI materials to them so they can continue leading
people to Christ in Liberia.
New Christians in Kenya
Nkurunziza Jean De La Paix continues to teach and baptize WEI students in
Nairobi, Kenya. In a recent email, he wrote, “I am writing to let you know
about the baptism we had yesterday of Mildred Nafula. Mildred is 19 years
old, and she stays at Kahangware area. She is one of my WEI students.”
Nkurunziza Baptizes Mildred Nafula
More recently, Nkurunziza wrote to say,
“Two more people were baptized: a lady called Milca Adhiambo Anyonya, and a
man called Godfrey Asudi.
WEI Bears Fruit in Cameroon
Anthony Obed recently conducted the first WEI seminar in Bamkika’ ay, Bui
Division in North West Province in Cameroon.
Anthony writes, “Njombam Gerald was baptized yesterday. Gerald comes from a
Moslem family. After taking the WEI course he said, ‘My eyes are now open to
see that Christ is the King.’ Now, he has registered for the advanced
“Gerald is suffering a little persecution from his family since he began the
course, and more since yesterday. But he said, ‘No turning back.’”
Marching for the Master in
One of the most exciting works in the world is being done by Aniefiok and
Etang Akpan in Nigeria. Aniefiok is the Founder and Principal of Rhema
Academy in the jungle five miles east of Abak in southeastern Nigeria. He is
using WEI materials to teach English and the Bible to the Academy students.
Many students are being baptized, and a new congregation has been
established on the campus. Etang works in the WEI Center in Abak.
In a recent email, Aniefiok reported that two young girls, Utibe Sunday
Akpan and Idara Etim Noah accepted Christ and were baptized.
Aniefiok also said that “A team of four
inspectors from the Area Education Office were in our school on Wednesday
March 27 to monitor the activities of our school. They appreciated the great
work we are doing. They were particularly excited and delighted about our
World English Institute resources and studies.
“We have planted a new congregation in our hometown, Uruk Otong. The name of
the new congregation is Campus Church of Christ, Rhema Academy. The
inaugural worship service of the church was held on January 06, 2008. The
third worship service on January 20 witnessed some great harvests for the
Lord. Five young people (4 boys and 1 girl) ranging in ages from 12 to 16
accepted Christ. I baptized them in a jungle stream some kilometers away.
Aniefiok Baptizes Edidiong Udeme James
Please pray for Edidiong Udeme James,
Christopher Michael Akpan, Lucky Michael Akpan, Kingsley Ezekiel Titus, and
Nneka Anthony Saturday.
“All the converts so far are WEI students. We anticipate more baptisms in
the coming weeks and months.”
A Fruitful Harvest in Tanzania
Mike Hale’s student in Tanzania, Samuel Andambike Msawsungula, has been
teaching WEI courses at the Mbeye Vocational School, and God has blessed his
In a recent report, Samuel wrote, “Twelve students have been baptized since
I started to teach them in their school. Thirty-five students, among the 50
students I teach, are serious to learn the Bible and English lessons.”
Mike Hale reports that Samuel has recently baptized a Pentecostal preacher
and his wife, and that several of Samuel’s students are attending worship
services in his home on Sundays.
Bob and Jan Towell
Tiago, a college student in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, boards his bus to school. Tiago is majoring in business. He
dreams of making a better life for his family. He wears Nikes, eats at
McDonalds, and watches American movies. He listens to American hiphop music
on his cell phone. He uses the same cell phone to access websites like
MySpace and Facebook, where he spends time talking with friends all over the
Does this sound like science fiction? The truth is, men and women, young and
old, are being heavily influenced by globalization and American culture.
They are using mobile phones to access the Internet and listen to music. The
future is now.
We launched www.worldenglishinstitue.org
last year. This website lets students everywhere study and take tests online
using a computer. Teachers guide students through their studies and
spiritual development. Through this website, teachers can quadruple the
number of students they can teach.
Billions cannot afford a computer but many own a mobile phone with Internet
access. Some have already used their cell phone to try to access our
In the near future, Internet on the mobile phone may become our most used
medium for communication since WEI began. Instead of listening to hiphop,
Tiago could listen to WEI lessons. Instead of browsing sites like MySpace,
Tiago could use his phone to read lessons, take tests, and respond to
messages from his teacher.
We are currently laying the foundation for placing the WEI platform on
mobile phones. However, there is still more work to be done and more funding
needed. Together, we can build a cutting edge tool for ministry.
Did you know that for every $2.50 you give to Internet advertising, someone
will sign up to take our lessons? Would you consider funding the WEI
Internet program today? ---Bob & Jan
Tom, Angie, Bianca, and Brianna Langley
Since the last newsletter, I’ve received
several exciting communications from missionaries and evangelists thanking
us for the WEI materials. The combined Bible and English grammar courses
make it much easier to schedule Bible studies in countries where English is
not the first language.
WEI materials are being used more and more by members of churches of Christ
all over the world. Christians who speak English fluently are discovering
that they can use this skill as a way to reach the lost. They are
advertising WEI beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses in their
communities and are then conducting private and group classes with the
contacts. This has become a wonderful way to introduce people to the Bible
and to the local church.
One Romanian evangelist wrote, “Three
members of our church are now active in evangelistic efforts using WEI. Your
materials have been a big help to me and to the Lord’s church here as we
pray to grow and tell others the good news.”
Also, more and more American congregations are using WEI in their local
outreach efforts. In the last 3 months, I’ve spoken to several church
leaders and conducted 3 training sessions with Christians interested in
starting local ESL (English as a Second Language) ministries. The results
have been very promising, but we are discovering that a new course between
the beginner and intermediate courses might be helpful. We are always
looking for ways to better accomplish our goal of communicating the gospel
to the world using innovative materials and techniques.
As with all nonprofit ministries, we are aware that WEI would not be
possible without those of you who give so graciously. We love you and thank
you for your continued support.
WEI, especially those of us in Maryville, recently lost a dear Christian
sister and generous WEI supporter, Mrs. Monty Arnold. We miss her infectious
smile and attitude, but we rejoice with all assurance that she is now in a
much better place.
---Tom and Angela
Dick and Maudine Ady
In the beginning, WEI was designed to be
a Bible Correspondence School. In an effort to attract students, an English
grammar course was written to accompany the Bible studies.
This strategy has worked wonders. Hundreds of thousands of WEI students have
been introduced to Christ through postal mail. God has used WEI to spread
the gospel to the ends of the earth.
With the passing of time, however, new technology has been developed. A web
site was added in the mid-90’s by Bob Patterson, our volunteer web master.
An Internet teaching ministry was added in the late-90’s by Jan and Bob
Towell. The Towells have donated their time and talent (working 10 to 14
hours a day) and thousands of dollars for the development of a teaching web
site that will attract thousands of new students every month.
In 2000, Tom Langley came aboard and began promoting short-term missions.
This method enables teachers to teach their students face to face—with
Now, national preachers are using WEI in their outreach ministries. This
strategy is getting dramatic results, but it requires funding for printing
and mailing free materials.
If we had $100,000, we could supply missionaries and national preachers with
free materials, and they would baptize thousands of people into Christ. Here
is a great opportunity.
Thank you for your fellowship.
If you are one of our regular contributors, we thank you. Difficult economic
times have resulted in hardships for many contributors and for the
ministries they support. We appreciate you for partnering with us in this
great evangelistic work. May God bless you for your generosity. We love you
with the love of the Lord.
---Dick and Maudine
Accolades from Bill McDonough
Bill Teaches WEI Student in Myanmar
Bill McDonough has been using WEI
materials in his mission work for sixteen years, first in Albania in 1992,
then in Kosova in 2000, and more recently in Cambodia and Myanmar. Here is
what Bill wrote to the elders of the Metro church in Gresham:
“WEI material has been, in my opinion, the greatest asset to evangelizing
the world in recent years. [It] has made it possible for any Christian to go
abroad and share the gospel in an organized, effective form. Hundreds of
people have gone and will continue to go because this material [is]
available and is so easy to use.”
Books on Christian Evidences
A series of three books on Christian Evidences are now available. Evidence
of God in the Universe, Evidence of Christ in History, and Evidence that the
Bible Is Trustworthy.
Books on Christian Evidences
Click here to see Table of Contents
Thanks to Raúl and Kim Solis, Joel Banks,
and Sandra Cortabarria, the first two books have been translated into
Spanish and will soon be in print. Book Three is being translated into
Spanish now and should be available shortly.
If you have unbelieving students, friends, or acquaintances, and you would
like to help them come to faith in God, Christ, and the Bible, we recommend
these books. They are packed with information and are available at fifty