India (MNN) – Flannelgraphs seem to be an old Sunday School tactic to act out Bible stories for kids. However, for unreached people groups, flannelgraphs act as great resources in bringing the Gospel to life, regardless of age or level of education.
BFTW’s John Pudaite recently returned from India and other areas of Asia after launching a new flannelgraph resource called the ‘sower set’.
“As our focus is on unreached people groups, [By Design Ministries] has come up with a wonderful way to share the Gospel message starting from creation all the way to the ascension of Jesus in ten stories,” Pudaite says.
Because BFTW works with unreached people groups, sometimes in hostile circumstances or conditions, ministry workers don’t have much time to share the Gospel.
Pudaite says BFTW addressed this issue with By Design Ministries and asked how they could refine the sower sets into a presentation that lasts a couple of hours, “but would give enough background and context to our worldview because often, you’re working in countries or in contexts that they have a completely different worldview, a different understanding of creation, a different understanding of man and what is his relationship with God.”
Pudaite says By Design Ministries has worked to create the stories in impactful, effective, and time-efficient manners.
“In ten short stories, [ministry workers] can present the Gospel and flannelgraphs.”
The complete sets are accessorized with a collapsible storyboard and easel, different background scenes, and character figures that are unique. Each flannelgraph set fits into a backpack, making it easy for ministry workers to carry the stories to remote villages and share with the people.
Tailored for Unreached People
The sets are tailored toward sharing with unreached people who may be illiterate or semi-literate.
“We’re also dealing with the deaf, and also with oral learners, and with children.”
Pudaite says it’s important to have high quality materials and unique characters, particularly when reaching the deaf community with the Gospel.
“They really identify a character visually, and when you have the same figure used perhaps for Moses, and for Noah, and for the Apostle Paul, they pick up on that… but when all figures are unique, they can really latch onto it and understand them as characters [because they’re] far more perceptive and sensitive to this type of thing via the detail that has gone into these.”
By Design Ministries has created unique characters to effectively reach people in every type of community. They’ve also created digital versions of the stories so stories can be demonstrated on smartphones, tablets, or computers.
Further, the ministry has started translating their story guides into multiple languages. BFTW will “be working alongside them with that in some of the major languages of the regions where we’re working in,” Pudaite says.
BFTW has already seen how treasured these sower sets are by ministry workers.
BFTW brought 500 sets into India to be repackaged and have distributed 180 of those sets to evangelists working among unreached people. More sets are already being requested.
“On top of that, the way in which they responded really blessed me because they said, ‘we want to do this in a self-sustaining way. We’re not going to give them out free. We’re going to ask people to make an investment in these and also participate in the training before we would issue these sets to them.’”
Pudaite says training for the sower sets is scheduled for May, and training has already commenced in some areas.
“All of this comes together. We’ve been going across India and into some of the neighboring countries to get a preliminary training, for folks from Nepal who came down, and really looking at some excitement there as well. We’ve been working in some restricted access countries as well and there was a tremendous response.”
More sower sets are in demand. Join BFTW in supplying ministry workers with these sets by donating towards the sower sets projects here.
Header photo courtesy of Bibles For The World via Facebook
International (MNN) – Education is about preparing the next generation for the future. It builds and forms leaders who will guide others. For kids in the mission field, it’s just the same. They need quality education to form them so they can be prepared to lead and build up others.
Education for Missionary Kids
“These are amazing days in the education of missionary children,” TeachBeyond’s George Durance says.
“If you look around, count the numbers and so on, it looks like the missionary children’s school is winding down. It’s not at all. It’s changing. It’s undergoing a metamorphose, and we’re seeing different kinds of missionary children’s schools emerging that are actually better than they’ve ever been, and we’re providing a richer and deeper education than we were 20 years ago.”
Durance says in the past, many missionary kids would attend boarding schools, especially if their parents worked in remote or rural areas. Today, he says, there are about 30 of these boarding schools left, and children attend day schools instead.
Durance says children in the last years of secondary schooling need a place where they can relearn the culture of their home country and learn the language well. Many kids will go on to universities or colleges to further their education once they’ve finished secondary school, and they need cultural and linguistic foundations to do well in their university education.
“Kids have grown up bi-cultural or multi-cultural, multi-lingual. So, they need a different kind of support than they can get in more remote or rural areas.”
If children don’t have quality education for secondary schooling that reintroduces them to their home country’s culture, families will often leave the mission field before kids finish secondary school.
“There are many statistics about this,” Durance says. “One of the common ones is that about 21 percent of the missionary returnee groups look to family issues and especially the education of children as the primary reason that they have to leave the place of service. So, you’d have to make this, as a mission organization, one of your prime goals, providing quality educational service for the missionary children.”
Providing quality education is important for these children because they are integral keys to the future of the mission field and helping the international Church bloom.
TeachBeyond has grown out of service to missionary children and the global Church. They offer quality schooling so that missionary kids can continue receiving an education and families can stay in the mission field, helping the Church to grow.
However, amidst their schools, the need for teachers is large.
“The potential is so great and the opportunity to use these kinds of schools as platforms for tremendous ministry, it almost has no limit, and yet, all the sudden you discover you don’t have a math teacher, or you don’t have a science teacher, or you don’t have the right house parent.”
TeachBeyond needs your help to equip the next generation of missionaries with vital education.
Also, pray that God would send teachers to the field.
Header photo courtesy of TeachBeyond