Uganda (MNN) — In a place where children make up nearly 50% of the population, Sunday school is a vital way of reaching a community with the Gospel.
Every Child Ministries has been working in Africa for over two decades. One of their ministries which is led by the Luckeys is called Afayo, meaning “He cares” in Lusoga. Lorella Rouster of ECM is currently helping. She tells us about the ministry from the field: “I’ve been training Sunday school teachers in a rural area of Uganda called Naigobya. This effort is part of a holistic program of community development in that area that we call The Afayo Project.”
With the success that ECM has had with Sunday schools in Africa, it is an obvious choice to reach the children. Rouster recognizes the attitude some people have toward learning about Jesus in a formal setting. She says, “The first day, an old man came to me and said, ‘You know, the problem with Sunday school is it’s going to be so boring, and it’s going to be hard to interest the children.’ But after a couple days, I noticed all the participants were laughing and just having a great time.”
The teaching style has been tailored to fit the needs of the African people. That is because ECM doesn’t teach the Sunday school, but they train African Christians to teach Scripture. Most often, they use an active method of teaching. When the children are taught a new passage, they usually act it out or sing a song to help them understand and remember the story. The student involvement makes learning about Jesus effective and fun.
Often times, the children memorize a Bible verse that coincides with what they just learned. It is something to take along with them for the week to remember and apply what they learned.
Rouster says eleven new Sunday schools started last week. She explains why this Sunday school training is so crucial to their work in Uganda: “If you do not successfully reach the children, you have lost half the community, and you also have lost the half that is most receptive to the Gospel. So we believe this training is really important, and we’re very encouraged with the results.”
This method of reaching a community with the Gospel is superior to some others. Rouster says, “It’s a very critical way because it’s a very practical and easy way to reach most of the children of the community. They’ve not had any programs like this before.”
While the ministry is largely successful, it isn’t all easy. “Well of course, when you’re in a rural area, you’re facing challenges of poverty. So the church is using the school rooms as Sunday school rooms, and there are very many children,” Rouster says. The small, crowded classrooms are an example of the logistical challenges they face.
ECM asks that you pray for these Sunday school teachers and for the training program. “Pray for those teachers, that they will keep the work. It’s new to them, and so there could be a temptation to go for a little while and then stop. But with the prayers of God’s people, we will believe that they will go on.”
If you would like to give to The Afayo Project, it costs about $54 to start a new Sunday school–potentially reaching an average of 80 children. You can give here. Many African communities still need to hear the Gospel.