"I needed to learn Spanish," said Chitwood, "and I wanted to do it with other Christians for a fair price."
Looking around at local community courses offered at colleges and other educational institutions Chitwood was not impressed by what was offered in terms of cost and coverage or for that matter, location or timing.
"I did not find what I needed to learn Spanish for ministry," he said.
"It was then that I decided that the LINC Bible Institute should start some classes."
Chitwood then got in contact with several area churches and explored the possibility of offering SSL courses at their locations. In the end, two churches - Memorial Lutheran Church in Katy and Resurrection Lutheran in Spring - partnered with LBI to offer its first SSL basics courses.
In the fall there were 25 students enrolled in the SSL classes and the instructores, Nelda Solano and Veronica Moreno, were taking students through basics.
"From 'Hola, como estas?' to conjugating the preterite tense, we learned a lot in just 18 weeks," said Chitwood, who along with many others took two semesters of Spanish and is planning to continue his learning with private tutoring.
In the month of April the two SSL spring semesters wrapped up in Spring and Katy. For each class it was a special celebration of a year of hard work in learning not only a new language, but more about another culture.
Moreno, who taught the Katy class, took every opportunity to teach students Spanish through music, movies, classical Aztec and Mayan myths, religious symbols and food.
In Spring, the students took a different approach. Having already put on a cooking show in the Fall, Solano encouraged the students to write their own Spanish-only children's books.
"The results were amazing," said Solano, "they are worthy of display."
As LBI explores future SSL class possibilities in other locations it is encouraging to know that through song, food and storytime there are now over 30 individuals who know a little more Spanish, and a little more about the prevalent Hispanic culture present in Houston.