Friday morning was another good opportunity to watch some of the experienced scripture teachers. It was striking to see how strategic they were at was using every one of the 30 minutes available carefully. One teacher would even make the most of the time the children used to complete their worksheets to strike up conversation with the classroom teacher who worked at the back; eventually building up relationship to invite them to church events.
It was an easy start to the morning for most of us. We took the chance to catch up and play some games.
The second event for the day was an ESL class. We had a visitor who had heard about the class after being given a flyer at our stall yesterday. The group of around 30 was very diverse having mostly Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese people, with young and old. even a 91 year old.
The class was opened in prayer, then they study a newspaper article (today’s was on the Police Department), and the class was then closed by reading a bible verse and praying. Immediately following the class after is a bible study, which around half of the ESL class stays on for. The class is trying to be strategic but still appealing to as many people as possible.
The ongoing efforts in the ESL class are always used by God with one of the Chinese ladies telling her story of being in Australia for a decade and coming to ESL for the whole time. She was raised as a Buddhist and had come to Australia with that as her outlook on life, but after 10 years of hearing about a guy called Jesus who seemed to make so much more sense than Buddha, she became a Christian.
Then it was time for Afternoon Kids Club. This is for primary aged kids and runs for about an hour or so in the afternoon after school. There is hanging out, craft, games then a bible study. For the 5-6 group Jess Smith did a study on the passion narrative, at the start of Jesus’ trial, considering the ways in which Jesus seemed to act like a King and ways he did not. The ministry is especially valuable because many of the parents will hang out while their kids play, often helping run games and craft. Around a quarter of the parents don’t go to church but come to the club because their kids enjoy it, or to give them a break for a time. Many of the school scripture kids come also, so it is a good chance to build on relationships outside of the school, as well as to meet the parents and get to know them.
A dozen of the mission team helped out with Panania’s regular Friday night youth group. The extra people power enabled a huge all in “Game of Life” dreamt up by one of the youth group leaders. Polly Butterworth was able to use the game to start us thinking about our lives, how we operate and build them, then she looked at parable of the house built on sand and the house build on rock. The talks was followed by a study on the talk in smaller groups lead by youth leaders, then the evening finished with supper.