Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Kids of Our Lives

Last week, my fifth and sixth grade students joined the rest of the elementary for a field trip to a small museum display about the Bible. The exposition that we saw was a traveling section from the larger museum ManĂ¡ in Mexico City, and due to its reduced size, we only spent an hour there. It was an hour well spent as the kids heard about ancient clay tablets of the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, illuminated manuscripts and much more. They had a chance to see Bibles translated into various different languages and also Bibles written in creative formats like Manga and only pictures. A professor had come to explain the contents of the display cases to the children, so they were able to understand better what they saw.

When we returned to school, my students had a number of questions, so we spent time discussing the apocryphal books, the original languages of the Bible, and the Ark of the Covenant. The children were fascinated to hear about how scribes in ancient times and monks in the Middle Ages copied the Bible with infinite care and how Gutenberg's invention of the printing press radically reduced the cost of books and made Bibles available to more people.

In Huejotzingo, Abraham, Six, Ken, and I have begun going on Saturday afternoons to rehearse a Christmas play with the kids. Last Saturday only two of the children showed up, but it was a good opportunity for us, because those two had never heard the Christmas story before. One of them, when I said, "Why don't we read the story in the Bible?" declared roundly, "The Bible is boring!" When I asked what stories he had read from the Bible, he said he couldn't remember any of them.

We sat down with the two children, and I read from the account of Jesus' birth in Matthew. Abraham asked some questions to see if the two understood. I continued reading in Luke, so they were able to hear, for the first time, the real story of Jesus' birth.

The two kids who were with us last Saturday recently returned to Huejotzingo after being away for about four years. They do not have a father, and their mother is not very dependable. The younger boy is staying with his great aunt, and his older sister is with her cousin. Neither child has learned to read, although the boy is about 8 years old, and his sister is probably 10 or 11. We are glad that they have been regular attenders on Sunday afternoons and now on Saturday as well. Please pray for them. They have not asked Jesus into their hearts, although both listen fairly attentively as Abraham teaches Walk Through the Bible on Sunday afternoon. They are also both very vulnerable and both live in less than ideal homes.

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