As most of you know, I teach two bible classes to children each Sunday, for children between the ages of three and thirteen. One of the challenges that has accompanied that task is finding or creating materials and lessons, particularly visual aids. Any one who has taught a bible class for young children will know just how essential good visual aids are. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I can tell you from experience young children have a hard time sitting still and listening to a thousand words uninterrupted. Therefore, when the Smith's returned from furlough, bringing with them some much needed supplies for the children's ministry here in Arequipa, I was overjoyed. Thanks to the folks at Cedar Lane, we now have beautifully illustrated pictures of over 100 scenes from the Bible, along with the corresponding stories and questions in Spanish, as well as a few other useful items.
The materials could not have come at a better time. Since Rosa's birthday, she and her sister have brought a few friends, who are between the ages of 2 and 3. The average attendance of the Bible class is now up to seven children, which is almost every child in the community that can sit still for more than five minutes at a time. I only wish I could share with you the joy I feel when I am with them, and the love I have for them, because they are so easy to love. I know how hard it is for children's ministers in the states to find teachers for the younger age groups at church, but if all of the children in those classes were like these children, there would be a waiting list for the opportunity to teach them, they are so eager and responsive, not to mention quiet as I read the Bible story in my poorly pronounced Spanish (yes even the two year old).
This coming Sunday, November 21st, we will celebrate Flor's birthday (and mine) who will turn 6 on the 24th of this month. I know Flor is looking forward to a day of cupcakes and attention, and I am looking forward to providing both of those things for her. Flor attends my Bible class with her two older brothers Benjamin and Juan, and is one of the families who will benefit from the latrine project. She is my favorite of all the children who attend my class (yes I know I shouldn't have favorites, but it can't be helped). Her smiles and hugs are by far the highlight of my week. Her playful spirit has enabled me to interact with her more than the other children, as we interact more outside of class, around the work sites for the latrines. I also watch how her older brothers love and protect her and feel so blessed to be a part of her life.