Luke Shooter reports on our third day of mission.
This morning we got up early for our first attempt at cross cultural ministry in Vanuatu – two Sunday School classes for local kids. Yesterday we had asked our language teachers to show us how to say Luke 19:10 in Bislama to prepare for it, but would we remember it, and would the kids even know Bislama?
When we arrived at 7.10am, there were only two kids there. But the leader said he had rung the bell and that the kids were on their way. Soon we had over 30 kids and Sunday School was ready to start. They started with two praise songs* and then handed it over to us.
We headed outside to play tunnel ball, and with some assistance from the teachers we managed our first game! Then Jack led us as we sang “He Died Upon the Cross” and taught the kids some actions.
Next up was a drama – we acted out Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, while Rachael (one of our members who actually knows Bislama) read it from the Bislama Bible. The kids loved seeing a tall white man kneeling as he tried to play the “short fella” (i.e. Zacchaeus).
Then we taught them our memory verse in Bislama:
|Nao Jisas i talem se:||Now Jesus said:|
|”Mi mi Pikinini blong Man,||”I am the Son of Man|
|mi kam blong lukaot ol man we oli lus,||I came to seek out all who are lost|
|mo blong savem olgeta.”||and to save them.”|
|Luke chapter 19, verse 10.|
To our surprise most of the kids had a little Bislama – well, at least enough to pick up the memory verse faster than we did! And one cute little fella even came out the front and recited most of it on the spot. It was great to see them saying it so confidently in a language that would have been the second for most of them.
By now we had over 80 kids in the room and Jack was able to gave a short talk outlining the bads news (that we are all lost), and the good news (that Jesus came to seek out all who are lost). And like all good(?) college students, we chiasmed our way out (i.e. we repeated the drama, then sang again, and finished with a game).
It was great to be able to learn this wonderful and small portion of scripture in their language so that they could understand. The efforts that missionaries have gone to is truly astounding in order to get the meaning of God’s message into a language that these people can comprehend and appreciate. It was a small effort to learn this memory verse in Bislama, but it was great to get a small taste of what it’s like to do gospel ministry in a language that we (white fellas) were unfamiliar with so that they could hear and understand and be saved. Romans 10:14, “How can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
* ‘Praise’ songs are generally simple, up-beat, repetitive choruses that everyone knows (e.g. ‘This is the Day’) that are accompanied by a keyboard (and backing tracks), as opposed to ‘worship’ songs which are slower (e.g. Cornerstone) or ‘hymns’ (e.g. To God Be the Glory) which are sung acapella.