CFNA Associate of the Month
The English as Second Language (ESL) ministry, one of the oldest CFNA outreach programs, continues to deliver great impact! When the previous ESL facilitator, Mrs. Christa Wilson Earl, moved to Connecticut with her husband Rev. Brian Earl and newborn baby, CFNA began a search for a replacement. Pastor Bob Coffey (popularly known as Teacher Bob!) quickly became the obvious choice.
A CFNA volunteer ESL teacher for the past six months, Pastor Bob was born in Amarillo, Texas. After retiring from the Illinois Department of Transportation, he became more involved with church ministry and teaching. Baptized at First Christian Church, Belleville, IL in 1977, he later served that congregation as elder, deacon and chairman of the board. Eight years ago, he graduated with a degree in Adult Ministry from St. Louis Christian College, and began serving as guest preacher in the United Church of Christ (UCC). Around this time, he also received a Masters in TESOL from Lincoln University, and started volunteering at the International Institute as an ESL teacher. He is married to Carolyn, a retired teacher, and has three daughters and three grandchildren.
Pastor Bob began service with CFNA after visiting its website and having a conversation with Mrs. Carol Buckman. He is presently teaching Adult ESL at Nahed Chapman Academy, and does ESL testing in the St. Louis Public Schools. Even though teaching English to refugees can be very challenging, he relishes interacting with people from different cultures and confides that “working with refugees in St. Louis gives me a wider vision of the world than what I had in the past.”
For this, Pastor Bob sees CFNA as a facilitator of Christian witness. “CFNA service matters because the Lord has brought all these people from various countries to our doorstep who normally would not hear the Gospel … and we don’t have to spend the money to travel to faraway places to share the message … we are provided with the opportunity to be part of our Lord’s mission to the world.”
We wish Pastor Bob the very best as he takes up this responsibility to teach and touch the lives of New Americans by teaching the language of their new home country.
Prepared by Rev. Stanish Stanley