Montgomery Baptist language ministry receives national award

The Conversational English (CE) ministry of the Montgomery Baptist Association is the recipient of the 2018 Air Education and Training Command (AETC) International Student Support Award (ISSA).

The national award given by the U.S. Air Force recognizes community organizations who promote the success and wellbeing of international students affiliated with Air Force education and training programs. 

Susan West, CE director, accepted the award at the Alabama Goodwill Ambassador Appreciation Night held Jan. 24 at the Maxwell Club at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB) in Montgomery. 

Goodwill Ambassadors are volunteers from the local community who assist international officers and their families as sponsors, English teachers and in other ways that help the officers and their families get to know American people and how they live.

West said the nomination was an honor, and “winning the award has given CE an opportunity to show others what faith-based ministry can offer when we work together.”

The weekly English classes began more than 30 years ago as an outreach to the wives of international officers training at Maxwell. 

Since then thousands of students and hundreds of volunteers have been part of the program.

Bill McCrary, an Alabama Baptist and volunteer bus driver for the program, provides transportation for several women and their preschoolers each week. 

The children are taught and cared for while their mothers are in class, he said. 

“Most of my passengers are Muslim and it has been rewarding to build a relationship with them,” he said.

In addition to the national award, CE also received the ISSA for Air University at Maxwell AFB. (TAB)