Monday, January 26, 2015

Off With His Head! (Taking Sunday School to a Whole New Level!)

“Who are you who come to me with a stick and sling like a dog?!” roared Goliath, towering over the tiny David. “You are nothing!!!!” He shook with rage.

And then, his head promptly fell off.
Not again! I peeked above the tabletop, trying to see where his cardboard noggin might have flown to, as the audience roared with laughter.

David's head fell off a couple of times by Rebekah Drew
“I come in the name of the God of Israel!” squeaked David, as I frantically tried to shove Goliath’s head back on his stick body and leaf armor. “And He fights for us!” David whirled a piece of vine above his head and sent the tiny stone flying into Goliath’s forehead—knocking off his head once again.

Now, even the cooks had emerged from the fires to find out what the commotion was and were crying, they were laughing so hard. Inga, my puppet partner, and I kept biting back the giggles, as I rewedged the head into the twig.

 “Victory!” crowed David, wiggling in a happy dance. “The God of Israel has won!” David picked up the pocket knife and attempted to saw off the head of the fallen Goliath...but now the head wouldn’t come off. Finally, Inga jumped up and jerked the head off. “Hooray!!!”

Inga and I, along with three other teammates, were leading a two-week Sunday School book production and teacher training workshop for 50 Sunday School teachers from the Tiaang and Tigak languages on Djaul Island, New Ireland Province this past September. Throughout the workshop, teachers not only worked hard on learning translation principles, but also topics including children’s learning styles, skits, songs, personal Bible study, lesson planning, memory verses, games and even puppet shows.

Three-legged obstacle-course races! photo by Rebekah Drew
Most of the teachers never had any formal training for teaching Sunday School, nor any personal experience other than perhaps wiggling and poking their friends while an adult gave a lecture. Because ready-made resources are hard to access in many of the remote areas in Papua New Guinea, we showed teachers how they could create fascinating Sunday School lessons using common items found in the village, from sticks and sand to pieces of cardboard to posters made with giant leaves and written in charcoal. We demonstrated how to use pictures, songs, dioramas, posters, object lessons, and even dramas (Inga and I faced off as Elijah and the prophets of Baal, complete with pouring buckets of water on my tiny altar!).

Do you think it's wet enough? photo by Rebekah Drew
The teachers joined in enthusiastically, and by the end of the course, had surpassed our ideas with their creative and moving lessons (such as this drama from a lesson on the Good Samaritan!).

Yes, the pink-thing is a donkey :) Photo by Rebekah Drew
We ran three-legged races (after all, Ruth did tell Naomi, “where you will go, I will go to!”), and broke into teams and filled buckets of water with cupped hands (who wants to be a part of Gideon’s army?).

Who can fill up the pot first? Photo by Hanna Schulz
 But, perhaps the favourite was ‘Brata, Brata, King!’ (meaning, ‘brother, brother, king’ or our version of ‘duck, duck, goose’ to pair with the story of Samuel’s choosing David over his brothers), as twenty-five teachers, from teenagers to 60-year-olds, ran laps around the church yard, squealing with laughter.

The infamous "duck, duck, goose," game! (watch out for the holes dug by the pigs!) photo by Susie Pederson

“Oh my,” gasped Lydia, the grandmother crouched next to me, as we watched the circle of players collapse in hysterics during ‘duck, duck, goose.’ “This game,” she slapped my leg, “this game is the best game ever!”