Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The beginning of a new bible study group

Last night was the first night of my new bible study group!!!  I still can't believe that I'm leading a bible study in Spanish in Peru - it is almost too far-fetched for me to comprehend! 

Backing up a bit to inform those who haven't been following this saga... A month or so ago, a Peruvian college student (Susan) told me that she had a group of girls who wanted to do a bible study together.  They had done a study together before and wanted to do more, but didn't have materials or a leader or a place, etc.  Susan asked me to help her find a study and to lead it, and I offered to supply the materials and host it in my home.  So my job for the past month (among other things) has been to find a study and prepare for last night.  This proved to be a much more difficult task than I ever imagined, for several reasons:
  1. There is a GIANT lack of GOOD bible study resources available in Spanish.
  2. What IS available in Spanish is usually written for the spanish-speaking American audience, therefore it is NOT culturally relevant or appropriate for the Peruvian audience.
  3. There is a vast desert when it comes to available resources and materials within Peru, and especially within Huancayo.
  4. I am dealing with a group of girls who are teens and college-aged.  The materials that are available for this age/audience are either not culturally appropriate or non-existent. 
I polled many of my friends/missionary peers/ pastor-types, etc. for their ideas and thoughts, and received several great ideas, but for one reason or another, none would work for this group.  Finally, I locked on to a bible study that incorporated study and making a scrapbook.  This appealed to Susan in that the girls would study and have fun making something and having fellowship time in the process, plus the fact that scrapbooking is non-existent in Huancayo and this was a totally new concept.  So I ordered the book/study over the internet, Billy brought it back from the States, and all I would have to do is translate it for the study.  HA!  If life were only that easy...

The book that we THOUGHT was about Spiritual Gifts (see Paul's writings in Romans and 1 Corinthians) was not.  It was about gifts from God, but not spiritual gifts.  Susan had already told the girls about the study and the scrapbook aspect and we were a week from starting the study.  So that left me with only one option... write a bible study in Spanish over Spiritual Gifts.  It wasn't easy, and I had to learn a lot of new spanish vocabulary QUICKLY and have lots of conversations in the kitchen with Liz as to how to explain something or say another thing correctly, etc.  She even read my "lesson plans" and corrected them and helped me revise my homeworks.

Last night, we had 10 girls - 5 teens and 5 college-girls.  There are 4 more who want to join the group, but couldn't come last night (2 more teens and 2 more college-girls).  The girls decided that starting next week, they would split into two groups by age, which is better for discussion and for scrapbook workspace.  We had a great first night.  They had WAY TOO MUCH FUN starting their scrapbooks (to the tune of staying at my house until 10:30 p.m.).  They were kind-of funny because they haven't ever used pretty patterned papers or a paper cutter, etc.   They wanted to try everything out and their first scrapbook pages used A LOT of different elements, just for the sake of using them and trying them. 

I had snacks and drinks out in the kitchen, which was not the cultural presentation, evidently.  The college girls arrived first and I directed them to the kitchen to get a plate and a drink... they went to the kitchen a stood in front of the food and just stared until one of them (the one who is studying to be a chef) announced that this is what is called a "buffet" and you have to serve yourself -- then everyone said "Ooohhh!" and started to fill their plates.  Then there was a discussion as to how to get the coffee pot off of the coffee maker -- they use a tea kettle on the stove.  It was very interesting and left me feeling very privileged... even with all of the sacrifices that we have made and all of the things that we are doing without and the dramatic difference in our lives now compared to before, we still have a standard of living that is higher than normal.  In a way, it makes me feel sad and embarrassed and culturally-inappropriate.  Who would have thought that a fruit plate and a plate of cookies and a coffee maker would have been a cultural difference?

It was fun.  I was excited.  I still can't believe that I led a bible study in Spanish.  I didn't go to sleep until after midnight... too much adrenaline.  I'll keep you posted on the two group's progress and I'll take photos of the final scrapbook products.  Ciao!  

1 comment:

CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

That ROCKS! OF course, now you realize that you are going to have to pass on your awesome materials to others who are in Spanish speaking countries looking to do something similar...hmmm...I wonder who I would be referring to ?