Sunday, December 7, 2008

Impromptu Teaching/Preaching

In Mexico, we frequently encountered this issue... if you (the missionary) show up to a church service, you WILL be asked to preach the message for the day.  Talk about striking fear into your heart!  We were always able to plead out of this in Mexico because of our pitiful Spanish skills.  However, we cannot get out of it now.  We are fluent (whatever that means) and we are "the resident authority" on the Bible... that isn't our pride or ego saying that - the pastors admittedly tell us that they don't know enough and they need help and training and discipleship in The Word.  So far, we haven't been "surprised".  We have known ahead of time that we would be preaching and teaching, so we have been prepared and have studied the appropriate vocabulary for the lesson.  However, today was a new day...

We got up this morning and decided to go out to the Quechua church in Chilca for their Sunday School time.  We really enjoy this congregation and they have LOTS of kids.  It is a good place for Sarah to attend Sunday School and she has made lots of friends there from previous visits.  We planned to just "show up" and offer to help with the kids in whatever way we were needed.  Okay - so we were thinking that we would help serve snacks and observe the lesson and be "crowd control" with the kids.  But when we arrived, we were asked to teach the 10+ year olds.  Initial panic, then questions... "what is the theme for this week?" - "Whatever you want to do" was the answer.  "How long is the lesson time?" - "An hour and a half or two hours usually."  Again, panic... how do I pull a lesson out of the air and make it last for an hour and a half to two hours with no supplies???

So, off we went and we decided to do The Birth of Jesus.  (by the way, we are very familiar this particular age group - they can smell fear and they can eat you alive in about two seconds, so it was very important to look confident and assured)  We brainstormed a list of characters and they took turns trying to retell the story from memory.  Then we read the story from the Bible - Luke's version.  But wait - where are the 3 wise men?  Disturbing!  So we began to search for the wise men... oh, here they are in Matthew!  Then we had a discussion about the angel/angels in the story.  Exactly how many were there?  Some were ready to defend that there was only one, but others believed there were more.  So off we went again on a search through the Bible to find and count the angels... Wow - there were several!!!  Once we got all of the characters straight and we were able to prove our beliefs through The Word, we acted out the story.  Getting a Joseph volunteer was a challenge, since no one wanted to be married to Mary or be responsible for the naked plastic baby, but we finally got a volunteer and began our drama.  The actors used their Bibles and said the appropriate words at the appropriate times.  The three kings/wise men brought their gifts (two plastic toy trucks and a toy tiger).  It was awesome!

The most awesome part was that God provided all of the materials that we needed to teach this group of 25+ ten to fourteen year olds... the Bible.  And He made our Spanish sufficient to teach for two hours.  Incredible!  So, we survived this time.  Trust me, I will be prepared from now on!!!   I won't "just appear" at a church without having a backup plan, just in case we are asked to preach or teach.  You never know...

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