World English Institute is an evangelistic arm of the church of Christ around the world. Its mission is the mission of Christ. He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). It is the mission that Jesus gave the apostles when he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
WEI is the CHURCH going on missionary journeys, as Paul did, and teaching the Word of God through Bible correspondence courses, the Internet, and short-term mission campaigns. Our goal is to reach and teach 1,000,000 people in every nation by the end of year 2020.
Yes. WEI is a mission effort of the churches of Christ. WEI is the church at work. WEI does not replace the church. It is the church at work.
World English Institute and Bible Correspondence Courses is the full name given to this evangelistic effort. WEI exists to give missionaries in the field a means for connecting with prospects that are not aware of God and his word. Many nations, especially those that have been under communist rule, respond negatively to an invitation to study about God and the Bible. WEI is designed to attract students who are studying English as a second language and to teach them God’s word by using the Bible as an English textbook. While the students are learning English, they are also learning the Scriptures. Some seed falls in good and honest hearts and brings forth fruit (Luke 8:15). God gives the increase (I Corinthians 3:7).
Many students enroll in WEI in order to learn English. But as they study the Word, their interest gradually shifts from English to the Bible. Just before he was baptized in the Adriatic Sea in 1992, Daut Bezati said, “When you first came to Albania, we thought English was more important than the Bible. But little by little, the Bible caught up. Now we know that the Bible is more important than English.”
The name, “World English Institute,” is a blessing and a curse. It is a curse in that American church leaders are inclined to say, “Teaching English is not the work of the church.” It is a blessing in that it opens doors to countries where the Bible has been outlawed.
The name “World English Institute” was chosen in order to get the gospel into China and into Muslim countries where we cannot go as missionaries. Any attempt to advertise Bible correspondence courses in these countries would be rebuffed. But the political leaders in most of these nations are eager for their people to study English. Consequently, we are teaching thousands of WEI students in communist China and in every Muslim country in the world.
God is using WEI to get individuals and churches throughout America involved in missions. Christians are urged to be correspondence missionaries, teaching WEI students through the mail or on the Internet, putting their students in touch with missionaries when they request baptism.
WEI also makes it possible for missionaries and their supporting churches to work together in reaping a spiritual harvest. The missionary runs an ad in a local newspaper offering a Free English Course, which draws upon the Bible for illustrations. Students are asked to send a letter in English to the address of the supporting church. Students who respond are taught by members of the congregation. When students complete their studies and request baptism, they are referred to the missionary for follow-up. In this way, missionaries and their supporting churches work together as a team to bear fruit for God.
The church has neither the manpower nor the funds to send missionaries to every city, town, and hamlet in the world. By using WEI as a tool, the church does have the manpower and the funds to sow the Seed in every nation under heaven.
English has become THE language of the late twentieth-first century. Three-fourths of the world’s high school students are studying English today. Prior to World War II, only 200 million people spoke English. Now, billions of people speak English, and the number is growing rapidly. More people are studying English in China today than in the United States. English is the language of commerce. Business people who engage in international trade study English in order to compete on the world market. English is the language of communication. Airline pilots communicate with control towers in English throughout the free world. Ship to shore messages are sent in English.
English is the language of commerce. Business people who engage in international trade study English in order to compete on the world market. English is the language of communication. Airline pilots communicate with control towers in English throughout the free world. English is the language of politics. It has replaced French as the preferred language at international political meetings. English is the language of science and technology. Brain surgeons, computer programmers, microbiologists, and rocket engineers must read English in order to keep up with developments in their fields. Approximately 95% of the world’s technical papers are written in English.
Many third-world countries are pushing their people to learn English, believing that English is a key to economic growth and development.
World English Institute takes advantage of this worldwide interest in the English language. As God used Koine Greek to spread the Gospel in New Testament times, he is using English in the modern world. Hundreds of thousands of people in 191 nations are now studying the Word through WEI. Thousands of WEI students have been baptized INTO CHRIST, and dozens of congregations have been established in Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, and other nations as WEI materials have been used to lead people to Christ.
We mention these things, not to boast, but to stress the unlimited possibilities of using WEI to reach the lost all over the world. God is using WEI to teach 100 million people in 191 nations — every major nation on earth except North Korea. These 191 nations represent 97 % of the world’s population. But more teachers are needed, and we need funds for printing materials, improving our teaching web site, and running ads.
- In September 1988, Dale Randolph, Director of World Bible Translation Center in Fort Worth, Texas, asked me to write a Bible correspondence course based on the Easy-to-Read Version of the Bible.
- In October 1988, I visited with Dr. Richard Lee, then Librarian at Columbia Christian College in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Lee had been converted in Korea by studying the Bible to learn English. When Dr. Lee learned that I was planning to write a Bible correspondence course, he asked, “Whom are you trying to reach? The believer, or the non-believer?”
“The non-believer,” I replied. “We are aiming at China.”
“Then, don’t start with the New Testament,” he said. “If you do, the first thing your students will encounter is the virgin birth of Christ. And they will reject it as nonsense, because they are not ready to receive it. Start with the Old Testament and introduce them to God. Show them how God has worked in human history. By the time they get to the New Testament, they will be ready to accept the virgin birth of Christ. By then, God can do anything he wants to.”
Dr. Lee continued, “And don’t write a treatise on systematic theology with lessons on God, Christ, the Spirit, man, sin, the church, and salvation in Christ. Unbelievers are not interested in systematic theology. They will simply put the book aside and never finish it. Tell them some interesting Bible stories. Those stories are in the Bible for a reason. Everyone likes a good story. Tell some stories, and draw from the stories the lessons you want them to learn.”
Dr. Lee spoke with the voice of wisdom and experience. Out of that conversation came the format for the Easy-to-Read Bible Course—a course that is designed to approach people who know nothing about God, Christ, or the Bible, and lead them to faith.
- In April 1989, the West Coast Center for World Bible School in Palos Verdes Estates, California invited me to join the board, to develop World English Institute under the auspices of World Bible School, and to adapt the WBS logo.
- In June 1989, Maudine and I moved from Santa Rosa, California to Gresham, Oregon to work under the sponsorship of the Metro Church of Christ. I continued writing the Easy-to-Read Bible Course and made plans to write a WEI English Course to go with it.
- In June 1989, the Chinese government massacred hundreds of Chinese students on Tienanmen Square in Beijing, putting a damper on our dream of evangelizing China through WEI. Yet, hundreds of Chinese people have been brought to Christ through WEI.
- In November 1989, five months after the Tienanmen Square massacre, the “Iron Curtain” fell, opening doors that had been closed for generations. More than 450,000,000 soul-hungry people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were free to study the Bible.
- In January 1990, Bill McDonough entered Romania and ran a series of ads in a Romanian magazine, offering a free English course. About 50,000 people responded and started studying the Bible by correspondence and with short-term and long-term missionaries. More than 1,000 Romanians have become Christians, and twenty-one churches have been established. Larry Williams coordinated follow-up work on WEI and WBS students in Romania.
- In mid-1990, Truitt Adair and Bob Hare ran a series of newspaper ads in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. More than 13,000 people responded, and WEI materials were used to teach these truth-seekers. Missionaries soon entered the country. Now, English Bible Study Centers and churches of Christ can be found all over the Czech and Slovak Republics.
- In 1991, Bill McDonough ran a series of ads in Albania. More than 5,000 people responded and enrolled in WEI. That number has now surpassed 11,000.
- During the summer of 1992, Bill McDonough, Ben Jones, and I led twenty-six teachers in a follow-up campaign in Tirana, Albania. Forty-two students were baptized in August and fifteen more became Christians in September. Now, churches have established in fifteen Albanian cities and towns.
- In 1993, John Ed Clark ran WEI ads in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. More than 1,000 people responded, and that number continues to grow almost daily. Many of the students are now Christians.
- In 1994, Keith Levy and the Waterview Church in Richardson, Texas began using WEI to evangelize Lithuania. Now, two good churches have been established in that small country.
- In 1995, Jeff and Cheryl Cash moved to Fort Portal, Uganda and ran WEI ads in a newspaper. Consequently, about 1,000 Ugandan students started studying the Bible through the mail, and dozens were baptized.
- These stories are typical of what is happening all over the world. Even though we have only begun to begin, God is already using WEI to teach hundreds of thousands of people in 203 countries. To him be the honor, the praise, and the glory forever.
The ERV Bible is an Easy-to-Read Version of the Old and New Testaments. The vocabulary list is smaller and the sentences are shorter to make reading easy for a student just learning or improving their English.
WEI lessons begin with the creation and continue through the spreading of the gospel described in the book of Acts of the Apostles.
The Intermediate Bible Course surveys the Bible from Genesis 1 to Acts 20. Each lesson consists of a Bible story that is followed by applications. Each lesson focuses on Jesus Christ.
- Book One, The Conflict Between Good and Evil, introduces students to God, to the first human beings, to the origin of sin and the spread of evil. It also gives scriptural clues to God’s remedy to the problem of evil.
- Book Two, The King Is Coming, deals with Messianic prophecies as they appear in a historical context. Each lesson points forward to the coming of the true King and his kingdom.
- Book Three, The King Has Come, exalts Jesus Christ as the promised King and leads the student toward obedience. The final lesson examines the cases of conversion in Acts and encourages students to obey the Gospel.
The WEI English Course is designed to teach Basic English grammar, using Scriptures and Bible stories as illustrations. The English course is tied to the Bible Course, lesson for lesson. A WEI student cannot learn English without learning the Bible at the same time.
A cassette tape/CD is included with the WEI English Course to help international students with their English comprehension and pronunciation. The first forty minutes contain the vocabulary words. Each word is pronounced twice, followed by the reading of the sentence in which it is used, usually a verse of scripture. The last twenty minutes contain a reading from Book Three on the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As the students read the text and listen to the tape, the Gospel is planted in their hearts.
The Advanced Bible Course is designed to deepen the students’ understanding of scripture and to help them grow toward spiritual maturity.
- Advanced Book One, The New Birth, is written for students who say, “I was baptized when I was a baby.” Book One traces the history of infant baptism and the substitution of sprinkling for immersion and contrasts these historical developments with Biblical teachings.
- Advanced Book Two, The New Life, answers the question, “Now that I am a Christian, what difference does it make?” Emphasis is given to spiritual growth into the image of Christ.
- Advanced Book Three, The Church, helps the student understand what it means to be a member of the Lord’s church. It portrays the church as the kingdom of God, the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit, the worshiping community, the family of God, the Royal Priesthood, and the Bride of Christ.
Before international students can enroll in an American college or university, they must make an acceptable score on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Millions of college-age students around the world are preparing for the TOEFL and will respond to newspaper and Internet ads.
The Advanced English Course is designed to help students prepare for the TOEFL while they study the Bible.
In order to accomplish the mission that God has laid upon us, WEI needs the following things:
- An additional $6,000 a month to cover ongoing expenses, including salaries, materials and supplies, postage, printing, and operating expenses. This figure includes an increase of for secretarial help so that we can provide an ongoing support system for teachers.
- $10,000 a year for attracting students in every nation through Google ads. There is an urgent need for advertising funds if we are to reach the whole world with the gospel.
- $400 a month for renting a WEI classroom facility in Albania so that the missionaries in Tirana can teach their students Monday through Friday and so that summer campaigners will have a place to teach their students in July and August.
- 5,000 correspondence teachers. In order to reach our goal of teaching 1,000,000 new students every year, we must recruit thousands of teachers nationwide. This recruiting is done by setting up booths at Bible lectureships and workshops, by speaking to local congregations, and by appealing to readers in our quarterly newsletter. Teacher are also recruited by other teachers who tell their friends about the need.
- 100 teachers who will go on summer campaigns. Teachers who have been to Albania, Romania, Ukraine, Cambodia, and Guatemala are doing a great job recruiting other workers, but we need more.
- 100 churches that will use WEI to help their own missionaries reap a harvest of souls. No one church is big enough to fulfill the Great Commission alone. We must all work together.
Getting involved with WEI can build a holy fire under your congregation and give your members world vision. Children look forward to going on summer campaigns when they come of age. Young people experience mission work in other cultures, and some of them decide to return as long-term missionaries. Middle-aged Christians find purpose and fulfillment by leading others to Christ. Elderly Christians who feel unneeded reclaim the joy of being actively involved in the work of God. If they are in good health, they might even go on a summer campaign.
In 1992, our most popular teacher in Albania was a 79-year-old woman doctor. In 1994, five of our teachers were more than 70 years of age.
By getting involved in world evangelism, your congregation will be blessed by God. Churches that turn inward, die. Churches that look outward together and share the Good News with others, come alive. Jesus said, “Go… and I’ll be with you.”
“The Lord hath need of thee.”
- If you can go on a summer campaign, you are needed.
- If you can teach students through postal mail, you are needed.
- If you can teach students through the Internet, you are needed.
- If you can stir up your congregation and get others involved in world missions, you are needed.
- If you have funds to invest in world evangelism, you are needed.
- If you can travel and speak to churches and church leaders about getting involved in WEI, you are needed.
- If you can pray that God will use WEI to preach the gospel to the whole creation, YOU ARE NEEDED!
May God bless you with insight as you ask yourself how you might help fulfill the Great Commission in our generation.
Please fill out the Contact Us form on this site and somebody from WEI will get back to you soon.
Some people ask, “Why should we be concerned about saving people overseas when there are so many lost people in America?” It is true that we must be concerned about the lost in America. But it is not true that we should ignore the rest of the world.
There are two primary reasons why we must try to save people inside and outside the United States:
- Jesus said, “Go … and make disciples of ALL the nations” (Matthew 28:19). There are approximately 300 million people in the United States, about 6% of the world’s population. Including tent-makers, there are some 13,000 preachers in the U.S., about 90% of the gospel preachers associated with churches of Christ in the world. Ninety percent of the gospel preachers are preaching to 6% of the world’s population. Something is wrong with that scenario! That is NOT what Jesus had in mind when he gave the Great Commission. God loves everybody! He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And he has asked us, his people, to spread the Good News.
- Jesus said, “Seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Millions of people outside the U.S. are seeking God, and God is expecting us to lead them to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
If you have gone “door-knocking” in America, you have probably had people slam the door in your face. You have been rejected and maligned by the people you were trying to help.
In many other countries, people are much more receptive. In some places, hundreds of people have had to be turned away and put on waiting lists simply because there have not been enough teachers to meet the demand.