Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Making the Word Come Alive

Goal for the Children, for the Teenagers, for the Adults of the João Pessoa Congregation:

Study ONE chapter of the Bible each week.

    Since we made this goal in September 2009, we have studied Esther, James, Jonah, Philippians, and now Ruth. After studying a couple of books, we have a congregation wide competition. The last was the James/Jonah Cup with thirty participants.

And the winners were...

Group A: (6-8 yr old) Mathias Hagewood (1st - 56%), 
Lucas McKinney (2nd - 47%)

Group B: (9-12 yr old) Nicholas Newlin (1st - 83%), 
Mariana Campos (2nd - 72%)

Group C: (13 yr to adult) Kamilla Crispim (1st - 90%), 
Vinicios Soares (2nd - 79%)

Group D: (missionary couples) Monica Newlin (1st - 95%), 
Jeremy Newlin (2nd - 89%)

    To make the Word more alive, we had a lock-in for the pre-adolescent group on the theme of the "Christian Journey and the Book of Jonah". We divided up the auditorium into sections and the kids journeyed from one place to the next:

The first section was BIBLE READING: we read the whole book of Jonah.

PRAYER: We wrote out prayers at if we were in crisis, like Jonah, needing God. Some of the kid's prayers were touching.

MEDITATION: the kids were introduced to this much neglected Christian discipline, as we meditated on God's greatness.

BIBLE STUDY: They answered questions, having to search the Bible for the answers. All this went on from 7 to 10 pm and then we came to the hardest:

FASTING: We sat around a table full of potato chips, cookies, and cokes, and no one was allowed to touch them. These ten year olds had never been denied food in their lives and couldn't believe they weren't going to eat. Here's a picture of them dying of hunger, begging for food, crawling toward the potato chips:

I found out later that several hadn't had supper.

Then came EVANGELISM: they had to share Jesus, talking about Him to a visitor.

PERSECUTION: When people share Christ, the enemy gets mad and stirs up trouble. They got raw eggs mixed with corn meal thrown at them. Samuel thought they were throwing food and got a mouthful of egg, yuck!

BENEVOLENCE: David McKinney, dressed as a poor beggar, came and collected their money. A couple of kids even gave their bus fare home and worried the rest of the night how they were going to get home.

SINGING: while we sang about Christ coming back someday, David McKinney (again) came with a flash of light around midnight, dressed as Jesus, saying, "I was hungry and you fed me, welcome, my children, to Heaven, and you know what's the best thing about heaven? We have FOOD!" Then the kids tackled Jesus and went through the chips as if they had been in the belly of a fish for three days.

After all the excitement, we had a hard time getting them to sleep.

We'll do anything to get our young people excited about the most exciting Book on the face of the earth.

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