Kyle is a great husband. He is willing to work extra the four days of the week so that he can get off early on Wednesdays to come watch Eliana. Yesterday around 1:45 I got an email from Kyle. A few minutes later I realized that if I was receiving emails that meant he wasn’t in the car yet. AH! I called him and nicely asked if he was driving yet. A slightly panicked response said he’d turn off the computer and be out the door in a minute. I wasn’t panicked though. I’d purposely given both him and me extra time to travel. He made it home in record time and helped load the car with my cart that was full of art supplies, my Bible, and my journal. I gave him the run down of were Eliana was in her day and off I went!
I couldn’t help it, I smiled almost the whole way there out of pure excitement. In fact, I’m still smiling as I write this! I arrived with plenty of time to cut some paper, talk with the office ladies, get another student’s permission slip, talk with the After School Program, and chat with a teacher and an aid before the kids started lining up.
I started the lesson by telling them I’d get to share something with them that I didn’t get to share as their regular teacher. I shared how I became a Christian when I was a little younger than them. Thanks to the Sharing the Gospel seminary through Bible Study Fellowship, I knew how to share the gospel in a few minutes. I explained that I realized I wasn’t perfect. Sometimes I want to do good things, and I do bad things. There are even times I want to do bad things and do them. These bad things are called sin and they separate me from God. I had two girls right up front paying a little more attention to each other than me. So, to make my point, I stood right in the middle of them and said, “Wouldn’t it be hard to talk to your friend with something standing right in the way?” As she leaned to see her friend, I blocked her view with dramatic waving arms. I explained that me standing in the way is like sin. With giggles from the kids, I think they got my point. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to mend the broken relationship caused by sin. He lived on earth and was perfect. Even when people were mean and spit on him, said mean things, and beat him, Jesus never did anything wrong. A student interrupted and said, “And then He died.”
“Where?” I asked.
She stretched out her arms and said, “He died on the cross!”
“That’s right, but he didn’t stay dead. He rose again three days later. Because he triumphed over sin, we can have a relationship with him.”
Then we jumped into Daniel 1. I LOVE Daniel 1. I was reading Daniel back in August and decided this would be the first lesson for the Bible and Art Club. Initially, the kids didn’t want to help read, so I read the first two verses. I then explained what it would be like if their school and town was besieged. The very building we were in would be missing a roof, the windows would be broken, and some of the walls might be gone too. Half of the class would be killed in the process, and the other half would have to walk as slaves wherever they were told to go. They’d walk because cars hadn’t even been invented yet. They would have to walk a long way, like from here to Nevada. Just imagine having to walk from here all the way into the city by us. That made a few kids eyes open wide as they were slowly starting to grasp that being besieged wasn’t a good thing. The walk would be so hard that even if your best friend was still alive, he or she might die on the walk. Then I gave them a few minutes to talk about what that would feel like. They jumped into intense conversation. We went on to talk about what it would be like to be forced to have a new name. I reminded them of the fourth grade story My Name is Maria Isabel. The fourth graders were ecstatic because they knew the story. The sixth graders were scratching their heads trying to remember. After a brief summary the fifth and sixth graders were back on board. They had a lot to tell each other when I gave them the discussion questions, “What would it be like if you were forced to be given a new name? What if you couldn’t even say your new name? What if you forgot what your new name was? What if you got in trouble because you couldn’t remember your new name?” I give a lot of credit to the boy who had to read names like Belteshazzar, Hananiah, Shadrach, Mishael, Meshach, Azariah,and Abednego. I reminded them of Marvin of the Great North Woods. Again, the enthusiasm of the fourth graders was catching since they had just read that story! I reminded others of the story and then had the fourth graders tell me about Marvin’s decisions about food.
“He ate milk and pancakes one day.”
“He ate bacon the other.”
“What? No he didn’t.”
“He has to eat kosher.”
“What does it mean to eat kosher?”
“I don’t know.”
“He is a Jew.”
“Back in the book of Leviticus, God told the Jews to eat certain foods and to not eat others. Marvin followed those food laws even when he was away from his family.”
Daniel had the same situation. He was told to eat a bunch of food that He knew God didn’t want him to eat. He asked for the chief guard to test him and his friends for 10 days by just eating veggies and water. God blessed them. I had them think about what was at stake for Daniel to ask to only eat veggies. I explained that King Nebuchadnezzar killed people when they didn’t do what he wanted. So, Daniel’s very life and the guard’s life were at stake if they didn’t please the king. We went on to discuss how God blessed Daniel and his friends because they obeyed.
I loved watching the kids faces as we talked about the Bible. They had already been in class all day, but I had their attention. They were excited with hands raised, standing up, and enthusiastic expressions.
The art lesson went really well too! We are doing an art lesson that Kyle and I did back in high school. You can see two of the examples of my work here. The kids learned how to use a ruler to divide their page in half rather than folding it in half. They wrote their names and used tracing paper to mirror it on the other side of the divided page. I look forward to seeing them work on it some more next week!
Another blessing was that as I went to deliever some rulers to a teacher, I stopped in at the vise principal’s office. She wanted to know all about the club meeting. I saw this as open door to share some good news!
To catch the background behind Bible and Art Club, read this.