In the three years BC (Before Covid), my Monday evening routine was pretty much cast in stone. Our two youngsters would arrive home from school just before 4 pm … often joined by at least two of their friends. I would rush them through their snack, homework… and then the mad rush would begin… where is my bible?! My worksheet? Can I pack a snack? And the tattle-telling voices, “So and so has not answered their questions!” And the, “But I did!” responses.
Amidst all this I would be tracking down my teacher name tag, flip chart preparations, whiteboard markers, audio speakers, and other teaching aids; we would then all pile into the car… and off to a nearby church. Here from 6 – 7:30 pm, we met others … a variety of nationalities, church backgrounds, and ages; for an hour and a half of doing what Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) has been known for since 1959. Sixty-two years of international bible study groups, now in 120 countries around the world.
For three years I was part of a team teaching the ‘school program’ – three classes of children aged between six and sixteen. On any given Monday evening, you might have found us reciting a bible verse, taking apart a bible passage, putting together a puzzle, engaged in spirited competitions, singing, laughing and giggling away, asking or fielding questions on the truths of our faith, or even having a ‘talk’ with a youngster who had taken their mischief a bit too far.
Then Covid struck… and the next thing we were hosting Zoom classrooms. We pivoted to begging our kids to switch on their videos because well… who knows what they are up to on the other end. We the teachers became the old dogs – the kids teaching us the new tricks of how to mute and unmute; generally being quick studies on the chat function, Zoom whiteboards, and as would be expected – running into mischief as they changed and animated their profiles.
That is to say despite the choppy waters we navigated ourselves through the ‘new normal’. Providentially, it seems we had been prepared for these new realities. Covid found us in a study of the beginnings of Christianity. Dubbed Unstoppable – it showed how the growth of the church exploded despite the persecution of the early believers. On numerous occasions, we had city-wide power outages and 5 pm would find us twiddling our thumbs wondering what would become of the class and shooting off panicky SOSs to heaven. But what was a dark room, a dying battery, a slow or breaking connection compared to the prisons and stoning the early believers experienced? The theme “Unstoppable God” kept us going.
The upside – without the long commutes from school or work to home and then to church, our attendance multiplied. The virtual world crushed the distances and we soon had families joining us from across the city and around the world! Yes…we had young people logging into our Addis Ababa class from Zambia, UK, Finland, and Nairobi! Through a riveting study of the book of beginnings – one hour each week, for 30 weeks – we finished strong!!!!
And now after a 3-month break… we are back! This time we continue with the story – picking up from Matthew in a study entitled – The Unexpected King. You really must not miss this. You can join a class anywhere in the world! Enroll your kids too … yes, school work notwithstanding! Allow me to go so far as to brag that our youngsters broke their past academic records in the last year – despite this extra ‘work’! Assuring us that time spent in eternal pursuits is not wasted.
Thank me later (wink)! Seriously… let me know if you have signed up!
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