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.
There are many opinions about who Jesus is. There are many assumptions reigning among both believers and unbelievers. There are powerful expectations among everyone who reads this story, just as there were among these most intimate followers. And so, this question--the heart of the Gospel of Mark--is pivotal for our evangelistic study. We are called to give account for what we have witnessed to this point. Has Jesus reshaped our expectations, or do they strive to reshape him?
Now that we’re back from furlough, I have been struck anew at how powerful the concept of language really is to those of us attempting to communicate across the world. And while it is difficult enough to learn to translate our thoughts into another language, it is even more difficult to learn how to translate them into another culture and then communicate that appropriately in their own native tongue. Let me explain what I mean.
While in the States on furlough (got back a week ago) we were afforded many opportunities to talk to people at our supporting churches. While in Tyler we talked with classes and small groups each Sunday and in Tullahoma we got to speak to all the adults one Sunday. A consistent topic of conversation was our loan program. Some people didn’t know about it, or were unsure of what all it entailed. Others wanted a better explanation/understanding of why we offer no-interest loans to Peruvians. Still others asked how they could help and indeed we got to raise money for Ines’ loan while back.
Many doubted our strategy of starting house churches when we were fundraising. A major reason is that it has never been done in churches of Christ successfully here in Latin America. We are blessed to be supported by Cedar Lane and Shiloh Road in our work here, because they decided to take a step of faith in hiring us and in investing in this model. I believe we still have a long way to go to see evidence that it is working. Only time will tell. But I have really enjoyed seeing our little house church develop over time and slowly seeing relationships deepen between the body of believers.