I will share with you about my trip, and how your prayers have been answered. It was an amazing trip in every way. So I will pick up where I left off at the San Francisco Airport...
My flight to my destination was fine. I got up and walked a lot during the flight to avoid blood clots in my legs. When I got there I was met by M. who took me to my hotel to drop off my luggage, and then to eat an early dinner. She was delightful. That week was a week long national holiday similar to the 4th of July. She was amazed at the few people walking on the street. Almost everyone gets the week off and goes out to the country. It turns out that the people from this city were traveling to another location and those coming here hadn't arrived yet.
I started to learn about ordering Chinese food and didn't try a thing I didn't like. She kept me awake until 7 and I went to bed early so I could get over jet lag.
Kimberle arrived in the early morning and was up for b-fast at 7:30 looking like a model! We ate and then went out exploring. We walked to the subway and had an adventure. A girl from England named Laura helped us learn how to get tickets, etc.
At 2:00 we met with our 2 training hosts. We shared our schedule and materials and made specific plans for starting times and extra topics to integrate. We all clicked well and then we had a time of prayer. We had this meeting in our hotel room so that we would not be overheard.
We were free until 4:00 and were asked not to go to church that morning. We didn't want to get on anyone's radar. So we took a taxi and went to the Summer Palace. It was at 10:00 that morning that we figured out that everyone heading to our city for holiday had arrived- and they were ALL at the Summer Palace! We enjoyed seeing the beautiful buildings, but the people-watching was even better. So many pampered children! And we didn't see even one pregnant woman! M. told us later that they are extremely careful when pregnant and don't go out much. Doing some sight seeing was a good idea so we could be noticed doing it.
We went to a restaurant and met our students. We ate in a large back room with the doors closed. The 25 of them came from 6 areas of the country, some having traveled for 14 hours by train, and almost half of them were from our city. This was a meal to remember! Meat balls, pepper beef, egg plant, 9 other amazing dishes and then my favorite, sesame balls! They were soooo good! And all of it with chop sticks! The lazy susan went round and round slowly while we ate off the various plates. They each introduced themselves and Kimberle and I did the same. They shared what they hoped to get out of the training and I took notes. We went back to our hotel and reviewed our plan for the next morning.
Our training was being held at a small hotel that was mostly filled with the students from our training. Kimberle and I were staying at a different hotel where foreigners were allowed. There are only some hotels that are designated that way. We learned that we would probably be fine if we stayed in the back of the hotel and didn't draw attention to ourselves. We were in the training room or in one of the hotel bedrooms all day for those 3 days. If someone had complained about us, the manager would have had to call the police. So as long as we kept a low profile, we were OK. We had a plan of which page to open to if anyone came in to question us. There were just educational principals and nothing about the Bible on that page.
This is where the rubber met the road. Kimberle and I took turns presenting. We covered topics like "essentials for effective ministry to children," "the ministry of a teacher", "What children need in order to learn best", "motivating children to learn" and "techniques of teaching a memory verse". We had them out of their seats frequently as we taught them and they then practiced what they had learned. They played Bible memory verse games and got the idea that we have to teach the LIVING Word of God, not kill it by teaching it badly or in a boring way. We left them to present Bible memory verses to each other using the techniques we taught them. We heard the next morning that they laughed until they cried, it was all so funny and fun. They did a great job.
Kimberle and I went back to our hotel and worked together until 10:00p.m. getting ready for the next day. Then I was up until midnight going over lessons I had never taught before. I was excited at what the Lord showed me in those hours of preparation. I had prepared at home, but had a much better understanding once I had watched Kimberle teach, of how to make my lessons better.
Kimberle and I taxied over to the other hotel and were ready to start at 8:00. I taught about children in the Bible and what God says about them. At the end of that we were looking at each other humbled and with tears in our eyes, some crying, as the impact of the Word soaked in. It was a powerful Holy Spirit moment. Then we prayed- our translator repeated it for us. What touching prayers asking for forgiveness for how we haven't loved the children who are difficult, but have seen them as problems. They asked the Lord to see them as He sees them, as valuable and precious in His sight. I know the Lord worked in my heart, too.
Kimberle and I did a demo Bible lesson for them, and then described the parts of an effective Bible lesson. Then we had THEM write their own! They worked in the groups from their same ministries and got very creative. Each group came up and presented and again it was translated for us. They did an amazing job! I taught my lesson on using object lessons and felt like I hadn't done the best job because it seemed a little confusing in places. Then we sent them off to make one up in 5 minutes and they came back with the best ones ever! Kimberle pointed out to me that the goal is them learning, not us presenting perfectly. And by the ones they demonstrated, they absolutely got the concept. So again, to God be the glory!
We also had them get together in their groups and do a community assessment. This is a picture of the life of children touched by their ministries. These were excellent! They shared them with each other and I took pictures of them. They showed the things that are tempting or harmful in their community and what they were doing to provide help for the children. Kimberle and I went back again to our hotel to prepare for the next and last day. We were told to bring our luggage with us in the morning since it was time to switch hotels. The PI director there didn't want us staying too long in one spot.
Kimberle talked about communication including some very convincing drama by yours truly, Kimberle and some of our students... They got a session on networking that Kimberle had never taught before. They have already been working on their network since the training! We taught them how to involve children practically in the Bible story (again with some fun drama), and how to do Gospel presentations with children- maybe a dozen ways.
One of my favorites was Kimberle having one of our students who is an artist draw a picture on a while paper bag. It was beautiful. Then she filled it with candy and we went in the courtyard and had a pinata. Blindfold, candy and everything. They were allowed to hit it 3 times each. After it was done and the candy flew, they picked up the candy and immediately began to offer it to each other! Kimberle held up the torn bag that had been so perfect, and compared it to Christ who was beaten for our sins. Wow. It was a powerful way to share the Gospel.
Then Kimberle talked about counseling a child for salvation and I taught on discipleship- another new topic for me. I had stayed up late once again the night before fine tuning my lesson. Kimberle said I did an excellent job- the best she has ever seen, and she has done these trainings overseas over 30 times! So there is another example of God coming through BIG TIME! Then we blitzed them with many classroom activities and drama ideas for getting kids involved in the lesson. We gave them a one year lesson guide and ended with testimonies.
The entire 3 days we had been giving them objects to place in a plastic bag to remind them of the principals we were teaching them. Glow in the dark stars to remind them that the Lord will shine His light through them to their students, a cotton ball to remind them that God even looks for the one lost sheep, and MANY others ended up in their zip lock bag, which itself also represented ministry to a child.
Kimberle lit a re-lightable candle for the testimony time and used it to communicate that even when we feel burned out, the Holy Spirit is there to re-light the flame of passion for teaching kids well. They gasped! They had never seen such a thing! We laughed later because the package said, "Made in China."
Their testimonies were so encouraging. Over and over again, they said they learned that God's love for children is the thing that needs to underlie their teaching. They loved using what they learned right away, so they would know how to do it when they got home. They were excited to know how to write their own Bible Lesson curriculum and want to share what they come up with with each other. Their questions were all answered. They were amazed the Kimberle and I worked together so well since we had never worked together before.
The PI director was outside the room listening to the testimonies at the end. K. and I sat and had translation for that part. What a privilege to be there and to see the Lord move in such a huge way! There is more material to teach them, but we will have to wait and see what they do with what they have learned. So far we have heard that they ARE using it and have been teaching others- and networking. Yahoo! I tentatively asked Kimberle if she would ever consider doing this with me again and she said, "In a nano!" (Nano-second) I almost cried, that made me so happy! Maybe we will get to go again and do phase 2 with these folks and do phase 1 in a different region of the country. Kimberle and I are both game!
So this was the teachng part of my trip. Wednesday night Greg arrived back in the city from Indonesia and we moved to the hotel with the round beds. I will write about that next time. I am currently unable to put pictures on this blog, but I have posted some on facebook that are accessable by anyone. I will post the address as soon as I can put my finger on it. I will be adding more pictures to it anyway.
Blessings- Nancy Fritz