On Wednesday, November 20, students of St. John the Divine's ESL (English as a Second Language) classes gathered with teachers and SJD staff for their second annual Thanksgiving pot luck feast. Dishes representing 38 countries were shared. Students wrote and offered notes of thanks to their teachers and St. John's staff and clergy for making them feel welcome, honored, accepted, and loved.
"I'd like to express my thanks and gratitude for your everyday support. I remember how your smile relieved me on my first day in this church. Thank you so much."
— Chika (China) to Luise Tannert-Lötzsch (administrative assistant to the program)
"I am a man of few words. You always inspire me, encourage me, and support me a lot, which really impresses me. And your efforts have been paid off. Right now, I can express my ideas a lot, my confidence has been built up. I know there is a long way to fluent English. I will keep going."
— Thi Li (China) to Sarah McParland (founding instructor).
"I join the ESL program since 2 weeks. I really appreciate the program and would like to say 'Thank you' to you and the whole staff in the Church. I wish you and your family and the parish a very beautiful and thankful Thanksgiving."
— Marjil (Germany) to Charlie Holt, (clergy sponsor of the program)
"Thank you so much for opening the church's door for us. This ESL program has given me one of the best experience in Houston. Because of this program I have made friends, improved my English, and become confident to apply for job opportunities. Those things were unimaginable one year ago when I arrived in the USA."
— Juliana (Brazil) to Charlie Holt.
"Before I came here, I did feel alone. I did not have friends here and could not share the feeling with anybody except my husband. However, now I feel like I belong to this class and this church. Thank you so much for everything."
— Takako (Japan) to Charlie Holt
"People say one person can't make a difference in the world... but we know that isn't true, because we've seen the difference you make in the lives of those around you."
— Mona (Egypt) to Charlie Holt
"Thank you very much for all your kindness. The church is so beautiful and I can feel the peace of the Lord everywhere. This is such a wonderful gift for me to be in this program and God bless you always!"
— Mercedes (Mexico) to Charlie Holt
May the blessing of their thankfulness lead you to be thankful for your blessings this holiday season!