Children's Mission Education Part II
Amother of four children ages 3 to 10, Ele Parrott of Renton, Washington, heard Geri Ternpleton speak at an ACMC workshop in the summer of '84. "It changed my life!" she said. "As Geri shared ideas, I kept thinking, 1 can do that! I can do that! I can do that!!!"'
That fall, Parrott started Kinder Club, a weekly mission program for kindergarteners held during the children's church hour. Three years later, she's now working on a similar program. Kids With A Mission (KWAM, pronounced "ke-WAM"), for first through sixth graders.
Not content with child's play, Parrott is using Kinder Club and KWAM to train her students for front-line Christian activism. "I'm sick of filling heads with knowledge and not getting involved in action with feet and hands," she said.
"We have monthly outreaches with first through sixth graders, and two per year with the kindergarteners." I was impressed when she said the kindergarteners' first outreach each year is to the social outcasts at an inner-city rescue mission!
Parrott said she's training the children for spiritual warfare, prayer, and praise. "I don't want us to substitute mere head knowledge for these things," she said, "otherwise we'll have kids well-educated in missions but unable to do anything!"
She describes the prayer these kids are taught as "not a sanctified wish-list, but power and strength. We have our kids on their knees each week." Concerning praise, she says Satan is allergic to it.
"We need to know how to equip our kids to DO what the Scripture says, not only to have a World Christian perspective. If we don't have practical ways for them to use what they're learning, we're just filling their heads. That's why we have kids in sixth grade being bored." On the other hand, if these same kids are taught to stand up and share their faith in a crisis pregnancy center, they soon learn the significance of the message they have. Out goes boredom!
Page i/Mission Frontiers Supplement
Parrotb "sick" of knowledge without action.
Kinder Club is set up on a schedule of monti emphases, each month with a different ernpl sis. In November the theme is "God Loves the Philippines"; December, "God Loves Japan"; o month is "God Loves Africa," another is "God Loves Me."
Parrott said she set up Kinder Club with ai on what "our chief secular competition÷Sesai Street÷is doing." The focus of the program d ges every five to seven minutes. Besides a stor each week includes a food experience, games,! crafts.
Planning now is fairly easy, she said, since has put together packets for each month (av; ble from the church; see "Sources"). Each pad contains four sections; one per week. Each wee plans include instructions for the general dire( the food experience coordinator (including red and times necessary to prepare), the game and craft coordinators.
Parrott advocates "experiential educatic involving all five senses." She said he own kids learn best "when it comes out through their mouths, feet, hands, etc." So in vember, when Kinder Club emphasises the PI ippines, the walls are covered with a jungle scene.
A nepa hut, a traditional countryside dwelling, sits on the floor. The room temperature is turned way up; indigenous music plays in the background. As the children enter the room, their teachers throw their hands up in the air and greet them with a loud "Mabuhay'." (a hearty "Welcome!" in Tagalog).
The children eat Filipino food, sing Filipino songs, see a Filipino flag. They see slides from the Philippines that show the artifacts and realities they'd be dealing with if they were in the Philippines: Filipino toys, mud puddles, dogs, carabou. They play ethnic games, make islands out of clay (the Philippines is an island country), and do national dances. They pray for missionaries their church supports.
These experiences continue for a month. "Then the next month we go on to another country." When the children are "in" Japan, a Japanese to-konoma table sits in the corner, the teachers greet the students with a quiet, reserved, "Ohio" ("Good morning").
The children don't enter the room until they have first taken off their shoes and placed them toes pointed toward the door. Now they hear Japanese music; they eat Japanese food; they conduct themselves with the reserved behavior of Japanese.
B y December, Parrott says, the children have learned to pray: "Instead of 'bless the missionaries,' they pray specifically for a particular little girl." And by February, they are ready for their first outreach!
February is "God Loves Our Sarnaria" month. "George," a skid-row bum, lies in the corner, a brown paper bag at his side, a newspaper protecting him from the elements. Games include kick the can and a rock toss. Food experiences range from bread and water, a soup line, and a scavenger hunt, to foraging in a trash can (for food wrapped in plastic bags). One of the stories is of the woman at the well: "What would she be like today?"
The craft fits in with the scheduled outreach to the inner-city, skid-row mission. "We have the children make gorgeous valentines for the men. They make a care kit, and decorate the wrapping paper (butcher paper) and wrap it up for giving. The care kit includes things like a packet of facial tissues, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth-wash, and Lifesavers."
The outreach program includes songs and testimonies. "The children put on the entire program except for the sermon," Parrott said. "A high school boy docs the sermon. He's not allowed to speak a salvation message÷they hear that every night. He has to talk about something relevant to his life that week."
The program closes as the children sing a song: "Love is something when it's given away." They go down and give their valentines and packages to the men in the audience. "Many of those men have left families with little children," Parrott says. "It's a powerful point in the program."
After that, the men guide the children on a tour of the mission. The children tour the kitchen, see the rooms, notice the smells. Back where they began, the children and men have always enjoyed an ice cream party together.
Parrott said a lot of parents go along on the trip. "Most have never been before. They want to make sure their little darling is going to be okay. God has used that to open the eyes of some adults, too."