What do you remember about the Sunday school classes of your childhood? I remember a lot of flannelgraph people in “Bible clothes,” singing “Deep and Wide” along with the hand motions, and coloring lots of pictures of things like Noah’s Ark and Daniel in the Lions’ Den. Most importantly, I remember tons of Bible stories and biblical principles, which were taught by dedicated volunteers. Today, flannelgraphs are few and far between, but the lessons they taught are just as important as ever. That’s one of the reasons the Sowers and Kim Hall are so excited about the new Sunday School curriculum, which has been procured to teach the children in the Manna 4 Lempira and sister church feeding centers. When we last spoke, Russell was about to head off to a training seminar for the indigenous volunteers who will be serving as teachers.
Really? It’s Not a Word?
While shiny new curriculum with teachers’ manuals and student booklets may be something we take for granted in North American churches, such age appropriate materials are not the norm in Central America. Fortunately, a pastor’s wife from the “big city” Russell frequently references wrote just such a curriculum. The new material even works interdenominationally (which my computer is telling me is not a real word, but which should be). My call with Russell was a quick one because he was on his way out to the training seminar at a rented retreat center on Tuesday.
The curriculum’s creator was on her way to instruct the teachers on how to utilize the materials. Manna 4 Lempira and sponsorship groups with enough teachers to cover each age group were going up to attend the seminar. In order to use the new curriculum, groups must have at least eight teachers, which will mean at least two teachers for each of four age groups. The seminar was scheduled to last throughout the day on May 9th and half a day on May 10th, with participants spending the night at the retreat center.
What about the groups who don’t have enough teachers to participate? Russell says they are working to raise up leaders that can be assigned as Sunday school teachers. It’s possible some of those new leaders may come in the form of youth who are ready to assume more responsibility. If everything progresses as Russell anticipates, they will have another training seminar by the end of this year.
The curriculum is intended for every age group in the sponsorship program, from two-year-olds to sixteen-year-olds. Each group will work through about three booklets before moving up to the next level.
Russell reminded me that most of the Sunday school teachers have 3rd-6th grade educations and have never been exposed to materials like this. Previously, lessons were taught using nothing but the Bible and possibly a storybook. We talked about how this sort of fundamental information will benefit the teachers’ lives, as well as the children’s.
Thank you to Kim Hall for her tremendous investment in the lives of these children, as the director of Manna 4 Lempira. Thanks also to the people who have stepped up to help pay for the materials. None of us know what sort of ripple effect this sort of training will have throughout the lives of children, families, and communities of Western Honduras.
- posted by Christi