SEARCY, Ark. (BNc) — Dick Ady is founder of World English Institute and author of the course lessons. Yesterday, Jan Towell published an overview that Dick gave of that work at a WEI reception at Harding University lectureship in Sept., 2011. We share Dick’s words that our readers might gain a greater appreciation of what the Lord has accomplished through WEI.
One score and two years ago, our Father brought forth on this continent a new tool for world evangelism. World English Institute was conceived in the mind of God and dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are worth saving. As God used Koine Greek to communicate the Good News about Christ to the Roman world, he is using the English language to communicate the Gospel to the world today.
Maudine and I were missionaries in Taiwan back in the late 60s and early 70s, and we soon discovered that all the Chinese young people wanted to learn English. When we led a tour through China during the mid-80s, we again discovered that virtually all Chinese young people wanted to learn English. We started WEI with China in mind, but God had bigger ideas.
When the Tien An Men Square Massacre occurred in Beijing in June, 1989, we had about 1,500 students in China. One student sent us an hour-by-hour account of the tragic event. Some of our students were killed, and some disappeared. It appeared that the door to China had closed for WEI.
Then the Iron Curtain fell, and WEI was sucked into the spiritual vacuum that was left in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Bill McDonough, of Little Rock, Ark., went into Romania 20 days after Nicolae Ceauseseu was executed, and Bill ran a series of ads in a popular magazine. The ad read, “Free English Course taught by Americans.” Ultimately, more than 35,000 Romanians became WEI students, and thousands were baptized after being taught by American Christians. Today, there are 22 churches of Christ in Romania. Some of their preachers were brought to Christ through WEI. In September, 2011, the churches in Romania celebrated their 20th anniversary.
About the time Bill entered Romania, Truitt Adair, President of Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Tex., and the late Bob Haire ran a free ad in a Catholic newspaper in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. This ad offered a “Free English Course taught by Americans.” I was in Lubbock in 1990 when 15,000 application letters came in within one week. These students were taught by American Christians like you, and many of them were baptized into Christ. Today, there are a number of churches of Christ in Slovakia and the Czech Republic as a result of following up on WEI students.
About the same time, the Waterview church in Richardson, Tex., used WEI materials to teach and baptize people in Latvia and Lithuania. Their efforts resulted in the planting of several churches in each of those Baltic countries.
In the summer of 1992, Bill McDonough and I led a group of 26 teachers to Tirana, Albania, to follow up on several thousand WEI students who had responded to newspaper ads. During the month of August, 42 students were baptized into Christ, and in September, 15 more obeyed the gospel. Since then, more than 1,200 WEI students have been baptized in Albania, 80% of them from Muslim backgrounds. Fifteen churches have been established in Albania. Next summer, the Albanian churches will celebrate their 20th anniversary. God is using people like you to teach people about Christ by postal mail, on the Internet, and in short-term mission campaigns.
In 1991, Larry Williams of Little Rock, Ark., was responsible for following up on WEI students in Romania. Bob and Jan Towell met him at an informational meeting on Eastern Europe near Washington, where they lived at the time. Bob and Jan volunteered to find postal teachers for 100 Romanian students, and Jan ended up teaching more than half of them.
In 1998, Jan decided that it would be easier, faster, and less expensive to teach students via e-mail. I encouraged her to develop the system she had in mind, so she recruited a group of teachers. Her email teaching ministry grew steadily. When Bob retired from his job as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Towells moved to Round Rock, Tex., to be near their family.
In 2006, their grandson, Jonathan, a former AIM student from SIBI, graduated from Harding with a major in business, specializing in information technology. Bob and Jonathan worked together in developing our WEI web site at www.worldenglishinstitute.org.
This web site is encrypted, making it possible for students in countries hostile to Christianity to study without fear of reprisal. The web site is also automated, that is, all True-False and Multiple Choice questions are automatically graded by the web site. That allows teachers to focus on the students’ answers to the Thought Questions in the reading assignments (Bible lessons) and to communicate with their students online.
Teachers do not have to be English experts; the grammar lessons teach themselves and the grade is automatically applied. When students see their graded lessons, an explanation is inserted after each one, which confirms answers that were correct or explains those that were incorrect.
The WEI Internet ministry has virtually exploded in growth. By running Google ads approximately one hour a day around the world, we enroll between 1,000 and 1,300 new students each month. Approximately 30% of these new students are Muslims. The other 70% are a mixture of atheists, Buddhists, Communists, Hindus, Catholics, and people from other religious backgrounds. God has given us an opportunity to share the good news about Christ with every man, woman, and young person on earth.
During the past 22 years, God has used WEI to teach hundreds of thousands of people about Christ in 206 nations. There are WEI students in every nation on earth except the Vatican. To God be the glory.
God has used WEI to plant churches in Albania, Romania, Kosova, Crete, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cambodia, China, India, and Indonesia, to name a few. To God be the glory!
WEI is God’s work, and it is far greater than any one of us. In fact, it is greater than all of us put together. God is using us to fulfill his eternal purpose. We sometimes get discouraged when we work and work and don’t see any results from our labor. But when we look at the big picture of what God is doing through us, we get excited and praise God for the privilege of serving as his ambassadors to the lost world.
The prophet Joel wrote, “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow. … Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near, in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:13-14).
God has given us a sharp sickle for reaping the harvest. Today, he is asking us to swing the sickle in every nation. God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
To those of you who are WEI teachers, I say, “Thank you for your fellowship in world evangelism. Keep up the good work.” To those are just now learning about WEI, we invite you to join hands and hearts with us as we march to the drumbeat of the Master in an effort to seek and save those who are lost.