At Aphiwe we have a memorial and message meeting from 10-11am followed by CYC from 11-12pm. We started the day with 18 youngsters and 7 baptized members – and then the youngsters kept coming. Throughout the meeting they would arrive – sit down – get up to fetch a Bible – sit down – and then struggle to find a quote and page and page to find 1 Corinthians (discover they were in 1 Chronicles – and then the paging starts again) or even worse still find something obscure like 1 John. Today we ended up with 62 youngsters – all eager to learn ; eager to find every quote and have a turn to read; listening avidly; responding carefully. CYC followed straight after the memorial – no-one wanted to take a break.
Otilia and Yvonnehave the challenge of teaching the little ones (ages 7 to 9). And I say a challenge as that is exactly what having a variety of ages; languages; cultural backgrounds; and religious exposure presents to you. Eric has the privilege of teaching the 10 to 12 year olds and he is following the Junior Correspondence Course (JCC) program with them. He has been very brave in offering to help out with these youngsters (as he was only baptized in September) – and working through the JCC will increase his own knowledge and spiritual understanding – while at the same time give the children a structured learning program and good background of the Bible. Leona leads the 13 to 15 year olds and the classes are dealing with doctrines through a series called “Doctor Doctor I am sick” – with Christ being the master physician and our ‘illness’ being sin. Lucas has the 16 and up group and either answers specific questions raised or giving good background and outlines of the Bible; different books and different people. A very very busy 2 hours each Sunday.
Many of the CYC could not go on the youth camp last year due to finances – but this year each child is being encouraged to bring R25 to church each month so that by the end of November they would have saved enough to attend the youth camp. In the past we used to relent and let some children who had not saved enough attend the camp – but last year the financial pressure would have been too much – so we had to stand very firm by our resolve and turn away a few hopeful faces. As difficult as it was to do this – it actually seems to had the desired effect in encouraging the children to save pro-actively already for the camp.
What has also been encouraging is that at least 80% of our CYC members attend Bible Class on a Tuesday night – giving us a turnout of between 40 to 50 people at Bible Class. Quite the vibe. The children also realized how much they have benefitted by attending Sunday School on a regular basis when at a games evening on Friday night the regular CYC attendees of more than 2 years now won the Biblical quiz without much of a challenge from other newcomers.
So from having kids come because “Mom said I must come to Sunday School to learn how to speak English” to others who have come to share their studies on Job or on Suffering – by the time they leave they have devoured 2kg of sugar; 1 kg of coffee; 40 teabags; had 2 hours of praise, worship and Biblical instruction and successfully worn-out 5 CYC teachers. But who is complaining? We realize that many ecclessia’s no longer have Sunday School groups – and to be surrounded by such energy, enthusiasm and commitment just makes the day worthwhile.
With abiding love
Lucas and Leona Scheepers