For the Joy of Reading

Deepa David   |   August 31, 2018 

I clearly remember holding my grandma’s hand and walking into the DOULOS ship. I remember being in awe of their book fair and I remember her buying me my very first book. It was the story of Hansel and Gretel and I was just four years old. I was hooked onto reading from then on.

My grandparents used to buy me tons of books and I enjoyed reading from a very young age. My mother would find me with my nose stuck in an Enid Blyton adventure or a book from the Anne of Green Gables series. Oh, how I loved those books (I still do)! How I enjoyed getting home from school and relaxing with a story book. When most kids my age were out playing catch with their friends, I was happily sprawled out on the bed with a book in hand far away in some imaginary land which the book talked about. I read extensively through school and college. I still prefer reading to watching TV or surfing the net. My all time favourites have been missionary biographies. I loved reading about their life, their commitment, their families, their struggles and joys and the way they literally changed the world.

This summer I read a lot. I didn’t enjoy what I read but I learnt a lot from what I read. I took a course called TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). It was a 5 week intensive with tons of reading everyday. By the end of the course I was a certified ESL (English as Second Language) teacher. I had signed up to intern at the institute where I took the course. Little did I realise that my internship would also involve teaching other adults to read. And what an amazing experience that has been!

I have a class of eight students. All of them adults. Most of them are from Afghanistan, with little or no English background. I have a student from India and one from Angola. Recently I had prepared a one hour reading lesson plan. I had planned to read the passage out to them, then get them to read it a couple of times and then I had activities planned around that passage which they read.

I felt pretty sure that my students would be able to read. It was an easy passage, with simple sentences and the level was for 7-9 year olds. But it took my students 40 minutes to read that passage. My lesson plan went out the window. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care that we were not able to do all those cool activities I had planned. I just went from one group to another and from student to student, helping them form those words they saw on the paper. I was ecstatic when they read each line and understood the meaning. I was overjoyed when they crawled through that passage without giving up. I loved their spirit. Then I realised it would be equally difficult for me if I was trying to read something in Dari or Portuguese (which is what my students speak).

I also realised that I was helping my students in a very tangible way. I was teaching them to do something that I loved to do. I was teaching them to read and thereby assimilate knowledge and process it and respond in appropriate ways. This was simply brilliant. Not because I was teaching them but that they were learning this awesome skill.

So this summer that started out with me having to read tons of books which I didn’t like, finally ended with me helping someone else to learn the skill of reading. Very often I don’t get to see God’s big picture for my life. I don’t understand the puzzle He’s putting together. I don’t see Him working behind the scenes. But sometimes in retrospect, I’m able to see why I took a particular course or why I decided a certain way. And when I catch a glimpse of that big picture I’m amazed that He would use me to be His hands and feet in helping someone else.



Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Deepa David

Deepa David skillfully juggles her various roles as a wife and mother of three kids. Her biggest role is to support her husband in ministry, bringing stability into a demanding ministry environment. She has a heart for underprivileged women and has served with commercial sex workers and women in situations of exploitation and abuse. She is also theologically trained with an MA in Christianity from SAIACS. She is joyful all the time and never tires of hosting people in her home.

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