An Excellent Model for Missions
When Blane Anderson retired from the University of Oklahoma in 2015, having served as Chief Financial Officer in the School of Law, he looked for an interesting and meaningful way to serve in the Lord’s kingdom. While surfing the web looking for short-term mission opportunities, he found World English Institute.
He had never heard of WEI, and he was cautious. A few weeks later, he saw a WEI ad in the Christian Chronicle and concluded that WEI was, indeed, legitimate. So he registered as an Internet teacher and began teaching students.
Blane says, “By the summer of 2016, I was really enjoying being a part of the WEI ministry and decided that more people needed to know about it. So I approached
the elders of my home congregation, the Westside Church of Christ in Norman, to tell them about WEI and to demonstrate the WEI website. Fortunately, they gave me the green light to start and to grow this ministry in our congregation.
“My wife and I and two of our four daughters are WEI teachers. I also volunteer as an ambassador for WEI in the state of Oklahoma to help recruit teachers. In 2017, my wife and I visited four Oklahoma congregations to tell them about this ministry. During the past two years, we have set up displays at the Oklahoma Christian University Lectureship. We are always looking for opportunities to share our WEI experiences with churches in our home state.” Blane has the energy of an Oklahoma tornado. For two years, he has set up displays at the Florida School of Preaching in Lakeland where his son-in-law is a student. He has also joined Tom Langley and Lee Allen on short-term mission trips to Albania and Romania.
In February of this year, Blane spent four weeks in Guatemala City following up on students who studied with WEI teachers last summer. He also recruited new students by running Google ads, distributing flyers, and inviting people personally. He taught students in one-hour classes Monday through Saturday, some of them at Wendy’s restaurant and others at Pop’s Ice Cream Shop. His first student arrived at 9:00 a.m., and his last student departed at 8:00 p.m. On Sundays, he worshiped more than 100 people at the Linda Vista Church of Christ.
While Blane was the teacher in Guatemala, he also learned some important lessons. He learned to be patient with his online students. Many of them study their WEI lessons on a smartphone, and that creates enormous problems. He also learned the importance of treating everyone with kindness. Blane says, “Having a cheerful disposition and showing genuine joy when meeting people opens many doors. Talking kindly to restaurant workers who are ignored by most people wins friends and allows you to share God’s love unexpectedly. One of my best moments came during the second week of teaching. I taught a lot of lessons at the local Wendy’s hamburger restaurant and made friends with the workers. One day, one of the workers walked toward me with a big smile, waved, and said, ‘Hola, Cristiano!’ (Translation: ‘Hello, Christian!’) It made my day, and I thanked God that I wore that name.”
Blane concludes, “The WEI ministry is an important work that more people in the church need to be made aware of. The website is really first class. We have something many people in the world want: our English language. But more importantly, we have something all people need: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”