July 2010 – December 2010
My friends had been persuading me to take up teaching at our church’s Sunday School ministry since the beginning of my walk with Christ, and I had been turning them down persistently, until one day, I had this tinkling that I just wanted to step up and take up a role at the Sunday School ministry. Could it be God’s calling for me to take up the role? Well, surprisingly I submitted to the calling, seeing that my friend is also helping out with the ministry. Then all of a sudden, God had different plans for us. My friend backed out for she has other commitments to handle and I was left alone to handle the Standard 1 class with 3 other teachers that were unknown to me. And to my own surprise, I continued on this journey of my first ever ministry with the Sunday School kids. Call it nervous, yes it was indeed. My knowledge of the bible was as shallow as the kids’ and I was started to doubt my ability to handle the kids using the knowledge that I have. But I just prayed fervently for God to take control of things. Fortunately for me, I was given the Asst. Teacher’s role to assist the main teacher with some administrative tasks and with the kids’ activities.
At the initial stage of my stint serving at the SS ministry, I just felt numb, completely lost and was not sure what I was supposed to do. The other teachers were not present at that time and I was as usual, early for class. The kids started running into the class and they looked at me like some stranger they have not met before (well, they did not know me for sure). They were adorable but they were noisy and restless just like any other 7-year-olds. They started jumping around, chasing each other in the classroom, and some of them even tried to talk to me. However, I could not connect with them and I started panicking. Then I remembered seeing my friends who served at the ministry taking out the materials from the cupboard allocated for SS and started tearing out the assignments for the week. I looked for those materials and thank God, I found them! But which one sheet should I prepare for the class? Thankfully, minutes later, the main teacher and another asst. teacher started walking into the class and the main teacher had the kids under control. She started giving me instructions on which sheet to tear out and I did as told.
As months go by, I began to feel the negative effects of spending 1 hour + on Sundays after services at SS. I felt tired and was pretty reluctant to attend classes at times. I was feeling burdened by the calling from God to serve in this ministry and many times, I just wanted to call it quits. But quitting means, quitting on God and not obeying His commands. I did not want to do that, but at the same time, I was caving into my the temptations of quitting the ministry. I pressed on in faith. But occasionally, I did skip some classes, some with valid reasons and some without. I felt bad for I had to leave the main teacher handling the class on her own. The other asst. teachers seemed to have their own commitments on Sundays and they were not present most of the time too to help out. So, I made it a point to stay on and help the main teacher with the class. Then, one fine day, I was asked to lead and teach one lesson to replace the main teacher who had to run off for her choir practice. I was stunned and panic surged up my spine. How am I to teach the kids bible knowledge that I lack myself? Thankfully as well, I have 2 weeks to prepare the lessons, but where do I start? To top if all off, the other 2 asst. teachers were not able to make it for that week’s class. Crap. I needed to find a replacement to help me out. I thank God that my friend was willing to avail herself to help me out and she has experience serving at the SS ministry too.
I flipped the pages of the teacher’s guide that was provided to teachers at the beginning of the SS semester, looking for some form of guidance to conduct the class. Then I read and tried to memorize the bible verses and the passage in the bible so I could equip myself with the necessary info to teach the class. I looked through the materials and started drafting the agenda for the day. I prayed and prayed for wisdom and patience to teach the kids. Then came the Sunday where I was in charge of teaching the class. I told myself multiple times to remain calm and just take the class through – just like what I did in the past as a part time tutor. I took out the materials, tore them out and started marking their attendances. The kids were very approachable, and I made it a point to interact and connect with them as much as I can. Little did I know, God was actually transforming me from within from someone who stays disconnected with children as much as she can to someone who loves them. I began to see the transformation in me when I could practically ignore their nosy and noisy behaviors and love them regardless.
My lesson was so smooth, but I was glad that the kids understood my lessons and they enjoyed the class. I nearly lost my voice because they were so interactive and not to mention noisy. They love answering quizzes and were not shy to give their own opinion. I truly appreciate feedback from my students and I enjoyed the class tremendously. As my bible knowledge was as limited as theirs, I gave them life applications (children ones of course) and related them to the passage that was read in class. The kids love crafts and I gave them little crafts to work on which is in a form of a scroll as seen in the book of Jeremiah. Time flew by so quickly it was already 12pm – time for them to worship the Lord in songs at the hall. The SS ministry committee came up with an Open Day activity to invite parents or children that are not attending SS at the moment, to come and witness the fun and joy of SS at the church in hopes to attract them to SS and subsequently to the Lord. My class put up a little skit based on the passage of The Sower. I prepared the props for the skit using colorful papers. I was very proud indeed of my masterpieces (ahem, hehe). The passage tells of the sower who sowed the seeds on the ground in hope that they will sprout into healthy living plants. But before the seeds could sprout, birds started eating them up and soon they were gone. The ones that were left uneaten, will start to sprout and when they do, the thorns of weeds that grow nearby started killing them one by one. This passage tells us that Jesus (as the Sower) will try to plant the seeds of the Holy Spirit in young Christians and as they grow in faith, the evil ones (thorns and birds) will try to reap them off Jesus so they do not follow Him but to dwell in evil desires and thoughts. But how we grow in faith and protect ourselves from the evil ones is through prayers and to equip ourselves with the word of God daily. The classroom was crowded with parents and visitors. The kids also presented a song at the end of the skit “Read Your Bible”. Practicing for the skit with the kids and helping them with their roles was tiring, but at the end of the day, it bore fruit. The skit presentation was successful and everyone enjoyed it. We had some snacks before calling it a day.
Then it came another time where I was asked to lead the class again. This time I had the two asst. teachers available to help me out. And during this time as well, I made a mistake by disseminating the kids into groups. It was harder to maintain discipline and control the crowd that way. I totally lost my voice at the end of the day and I did not feel confident that I did a good job. But I think God was satisfied with my efforts. Although the kids were noisy, they participated in the class activities and lessons regardless. I was totally punctured at the end of the day and I developed migraine following that. I hope I did a good job in making the kids understand the passage and the verse for the day. Time indeed flew by really fast and in came December – the Christmas month. The kids have to prepare presents for the Myanmar refugees in shoe boxes under the Shoe Box project organized by the committee. A Christmas party and a short time of fellowship were organized as well. During the fellowship, we played games and had snacks and before I know it, it was time for me to say goodbye to the kids. I was torn between choosing to continue on with the ministry and backing out. But in the end, I backed out and opted to rest for the next semester. I was not and still am not entirely sure if I should continue with the ministry. I will let God take me through that. I received 2 Christmas presents from my kids. They were so lovely, especially the gift that I received from a little girl who was very quiet and did not utter a single word throughout the semester. For the first time, I heard her spoke to me through the phone, as she was looking out for me to pass me my Christmas gift. I did not get to see her and she passed the gift to another teacher to be passed on to me. Her voice was so frail and soft. She did not talk much – just a short Merry Christmas. Her gift to me shows how much she remembered my teaching for she made little scrolls (as I have taught her in one of my classes) and put them into a nice heart-shaped bottle. I was so touched by her thoughts that emotions started welling up in me. I loved her gift so much and I began to miss her as well. I missed my kids. They were angels. I am glad God blessed me with this opportunity to teach at SS. The experience has taught me that teaching is indeed a fun and satisfying job especially when you see your kids grow with you. Thank you Lord, thank you kids for the wonderful experience 🙂