Feb 3, 2011

My Little Mission Friends

Reagan and I married in November 1996. Beginning in the next Sunday school year, August 1997, I taught 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school at our church. I think from that point on, with the exception of maybe one year, I taught Sunday school until about 2 years ago. I've mentioned in former posts not only teaching those classes, but also being involved in children's church activities. On our first mission trip to Honduras, I was able to teach children's church in the village where we worked. And of course I've posted about teaching in VBS to the point that some people think I'm a little crazy. I've always enjoyed teaching and being around children.

Because of the change in churches, I've not taught a class in a little over a year. We felt that we first needed to be members of the body of believers where we worship before we made commitments to serve in any form of leadership position. Also, I wanted to actually get to know a few people before I started teaching their children. Being a parent now, it puts me at ease to know a little about the people who have Sara Madalin in their class, and I can imagine the same holds true for the parents of the children I teach.

After we joined our church last year we attended a New Members class. In that class we were encouraged to find a place of service. We filled out a form where we could check areas that we were interested in serving. We both checked missions. And we are both on the nursery rotation. I can't remember what else Reagan checked, but I also checked a few children's activities. Not long after that I was called and asked if I'd be interested in teaching a Mission Friends class. It is a class that meets on Wednesday nights from January - May where the children learn about International and North American missionaries. I said I would love to teach.

And so, a few weeks ago, I met a group of four-year-olds that I have just fallen in love with. A few of them I'd met at other activities (like Camp-What-A-Family), but some were new to me. There are two other teachers that are in there with us as well. On the first night the three of us decided that I would teach the lesson, another would be in charge of our crafts, and the third serves as a helper/substitute/crowd controller/person that makes it all work smoothly - ha. We've all been having a good time together. Not only have I enjoyed the children, but the fellowship with these ladies as well. They both have children that Sara Madalin will be attending school with next year (although, their children are one year ahead of SM), so it's been nice to meet other mothers of children that I will be spending time with in the future.

I've taken a few photos over the past several weeks of some of the projects the children have worked on. They are at a fun age and sometimes say and do things that crack us up. The first week we talked about a missionary family that works with fishermen in Senegal. For our craft, the children made fish out of paper bags. Here's one of our fish.

And here are some sweet girls working on their very own fish.

Here's our craft expert, Mrs. Shae, helping one of the funniest little kids I've met, Will, tie up his fish.

This past Wednesday night we started talking about a new missionary who works with the North American Mission Board. This missionary has cats, so the children colored their very own cat.

And because the missionary is in Georgia, and cotton grows in Georgia, our snack was cotton candy. Here's Katherine enjoying her cotton candy.

Every time I look at this little girl, with her curly hair and fair skin, I think of Sara Madalin in about a year and a half. I just hope Sara Madalin is as sweet as this little girl. The very first week, before she left, she came over and hugged me and said, "I love you." And every week, she makes sure to hug me before she leaves.

The children also had a painting project where they used cotton balls. They love to paint.

As you can see, the boys like to sit together during craft time, and the girls like to sit at the other two tables. At this table, there was one little girl who hummed Christmas songs the entire time she painted. Our 3rd teacher, Mrs. Leigh Ann, was at her table, and we'd look at each other and laugh every time the little girl would start humming. It was so cute.

I am thoroughly enjoying teaching with these two ladies, and being with this group of little ones. One thing (of many) that drew Reagan and I to this church was the discipleship of the children from such a young age. And it is evident in children as young as Sara Madalin's age. This group is only about a year older than Sara Madalin and when I asked them to share with me a story they remember from the Bible, there were several who raised their hands and started telling me about Jonah and the Whale, or another Bible story they have been taught. And they were so eager to share, I just loved it.

I can't wait to see how these children grow during this class, as well as through the years to come. It's almost hard to believe, but the first group of children I taught in 1997 are in college, engaged, married, and even some are parents now. In just a blink of an eye, the children in my current Wednesday night class, as well as my (almost) 3-year-old, will be there too. My prayer is that they learn Biblical truths at this age, that they carry with them as they grow. And I'm so thankful that God allows me - someone who is so unworthy - to be a part of teaching these babies.

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