Many people in the Metroplex do not realize that DFW has grown by 1.6 million people over the last ten years and 1.2 million of those that are new to our area are foreign born. That’s right – 75% of the new people to our city have come from other countries! Tonight in the Metroplex, 40% of the households will not be speaking English in their home.
Bryan Galloway, a member of Prestonwood and former International Mission Board/Asia Pacific missionary supervisor, recently said, “When we left the U.S. for the mission field years ago, America was a mono-cultural society and so was the church. When we returned, the U.S. was multi-cultural but the church had remained mono-cultural.”
Prestonwood has a heart for the nations and for the people of the nations coming to the U.S. We all know that Spanish speaking people from many countries are coming; but what may be surprising to some is that Chinese are coming to Plano at twice the rate of Hispanics, and Brazilians and Iranians comprise the other huge groups of immigrants.
Our English as a Second Language (ESL) program tries to address this great need as we attempt primarily to build Christ-like, loving relationships with people while teaching them English. Approximately 500 people a year come to Prestonwood to learn English. We want to find even more practical ways to serve those coming to America, whether that be explaining cultural nuances, teaching people how to drive, or helping them gain their citizenship – always keeping in mind that heaven’s citizenship is the priority! Bibles are provided in each student’s native language, and fellowship, listening, devotions, testimonies, and prayer are key parts of every session as well. Following the school system’s calendar, ESL meets during the school year three times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday) at the Plano Campus. We also teach ESL through our Apartment Ministry and increasingly in people’s homes and apartments across the area. Childcare is provided for ESL. Citizenship classes are Saturday afternoons from 3:00-5:00 p.m.