Master’s degree project will be a great missionary tool

  • 17 May 2012

As a missionary serving in the Spanish speaking programme of the Florida Tampa Mission, Rachel Tui Smith developed a love for languages. Like most foreign speaking missionaries she also taught English classes as a service to the community, to build missionary contacts, and create a presence in the areas she served. She realised that while missionaries had good hearts and were motivated to serve and teach the English language to the local community, they didn't always have high quality materials or lesson plans that were relevant, and some missionaries didn't know how to teach English as a second language.

With this in mind, after graduating from BYU-Hawaii with a BA in TESOL and Linguistics, Rachel presented a project plan designed to help missionaries who teach English, to the Graduate Board of BYU-Provo as part of her application for the Master's Programme of TESOL and Linguistics, and was one of only a handful of students worldwide to be accepted into the programme this year. She has also been awarded a departmental scholarship which will cover half of her tuition.

“Missionary work is so important” Rachel said. “The Prophets have said that it is the life blood of the Church. We have a responsibility to use our talents wherever we are to bless people's lives. Teaching languages is a blessing to share, and I'm really excited to help the missionary language programme benefit from this project I am developing as part of my study.” Rachel would like to develop high quality materials and resources (including a website) that are Gospel centred to enable missionaries to teach quality ESL (English as a Second Language) within their local communities whilst still staying dedicated to missionary work. She explains, “The benefits that this project will produce include those necessary resources, with the assurance that the missionary teacher saves time, saves money and finds the right balance between being a focussed missionary and a top quality ESL teacher.” Rachel is hoping, once her project is completed, that it will be endorsed as an approved Church programme through the Missionary Department, as well as being beneficial for other Christian organizations who teach as part of humanitarian or volunteer work worldwide.

Rachel continues, “I have a great testimony of the Saviour. This is His Church, this is His gospel, and He desires for us to continually improve and progress. Seminary, Institute, daily personal scripture study, and attending school will all help to build our education. The Lord desires that we be well developed and refined, in all aspects of our lives. I believe continually seeking learning and growth in education is a blessing. If the opportunity comes up, as this has for me, we should make the most of it, and go for it. The Lord loves His children very much. He loves it when we strive to use our knowledge and talents to build up His kingdom, and He greatly blesses our efforts.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Image courtesy of Rachel Tui Smith and used with permission.