New Bible Class

Starting a Class
When we arrived in Port Vila in April 2005, we quickly noticed that the congregation was not meeting for Bible class and the children were getting no teaching on their own level. Thankfully, in May the men met and some local Christians suggested that we start having adult and children’s Bible classes. The women were to decide who would teach the kids and what would be taught. Of course Cindy and I were glad to teach, but didn’t want to be the only ones. Akisa loves to teach the kids and wanted to start again. Disappointingly though, none of the other women had any interest in teaching. So, in June, Cindy, Akisa and I began a rotation (with one teaching and one assisting). Since Kaela was so little, Cindy ended up coming each time to class anyway, so some Sundays it ended up just being she and I as the teachers. We didn’t like it when it was just the two missionary wives teaching – we thought it gave the wrong idea. So, we decided that until Kaela was older or we divided up into two classes, I wouldn’t teach. From about August through January Akisa and Cindy have been rotating on a monthly teaching basis. In December, Akisa, Cindy, Ure and I were talking about how the older kids needed their own class (mainly Seselo and Noel). This is their last year in primary school and our “last chance” to teach them in children’s class. We thought it was important to lay the groundwork for their “transition” into more mature Bible studies.

Finding teachers/assistants
Basically, the “job” was mine, if I wanted it. I love teaching the older kids but didn’t want to do it alone - I wanted some other women to assist (even if they weren’t comfortable teaching yet). Really no other women were willing to teach (or assist). We decided that it was important enough that we needed to go ahead and have the class even if it was just me teaching it for the full year. I was willing, so we told the kids and we started the first Sunday in February. I was disappointed that no one else wanted to help, but prayed for God to bring someone who would want to.

Ironically, in February we had visitors from the States (Steve and Samantha Heinen) who were coming just a week after we started this new class and I was to go to Epau with them (therefore missing Bible class that week). So, I asked Flexon to teach for me. He loved it! I had a new teacher interested. Now, he and I are on a two-month rotation. He was already going to teach for me when we went home in May/June, so I taught March/April, he will teach May/June, then I’ll teach the next two months and so on. It has been such a blessing that he wants to teach.

There is also a young lady, a Christian, whose name is Mabel. She and her family are all Christians but worship at their house for now (until the building is built b/c it’s too far for them all to come right now). She started worshipping with us about a month ago and expressed an interest to help with the kid’s Bible class. She started assisting three weeks ago. She has never taught before, but is very interested in learning. She came over last week and we went over a full lesson, what it takes to plan it, using visuals, etc. She is going to be such a great asset. She is the assistant for both Flexon and myself. She will take on a little at a time until she feels comfortable to do it herself.

God has really been showing me that I don’t have to worry – He’s always got someone there to fill a need in the church. He has brought two wonderful young Christians who are delighted to help teach our older kids about God and His word.

Our class
We usually only have two older kids (Seselo and Noel), but do have the occasional visitor in that age range. So, the things we do can be really geared toward these two boys, what they like, what they are good at, need practice in, etc. In that way, it is really good to only have two of them. But, of course, we’d love to have more.

Because Seselo and Noel are getting older and will soon be in the world of adults, we wanted to make sure we were covering the basics, but in a new and exciting way. Thankfully I had a great curriculum that I could use as a rough outline for the year. Our theme is called, “Growing in Christ.”

Each month we have something we are working to “grow in.” For instance, the first month we had “Growing in our understanding of God’s word,” where we focused on things like “The one story of the Bible,” “OT/NT,” and “How did the Bible get from God to us?” This month is “Growing in Obedience,” where we’ve talked about the importance of obeying those in authority - specifically God and parents.

Because I know what they are capable of, I expect a lot out of them. I want them to see how important Bible study is and that what they are studying in Bible class is relevant to their every day lives. They have memory work (in Bislama), reviews, and homework. Their memory work is challenging b/c it’s in Bislama (and neither of them have memorized in Bislama before). But, with one in a French school and one in an English school, Bislama is what is understood the best. There is no use in them memorizing in English if they don’t understand what they are memorizing. Because it is more challenging, we do a new verse every other week instead of weekly. Their “Opportunities for Growth” sheet is a great way for them to review what we’ve learned, practice it, go over their memory work and be thinking of spiritual things throughout the week. (They are asked to read certain passages, and either answer questions about it or do something to practice what they are learning. They are also given opportunities to work on their memory verses.) We do all types of different review games in class to make sure they are understanding what we are teaching and that they are taking it to heart.

A Bright Future Ahead
I enjoy teaching these boys so much, and they are glad to have a class on their level. I am so proud of how well they are doing. When I look at them, see how they are excited about the Bible, and what potential they have, I get really excited about the future of the church here in Vila. It will eventually be in their hands. I hope to be a part of encouraging them and teaching them so that when they are older, they will get to a point where they are ready to obey the gospel. Then, they can lead others to do the same. If these boys are any indication of what the future holds for the Lord’s church in Vanuatu, it is a bright future indeed.

SB