Zambezi Kiwi

Living in Zimbabwe

An unlikely convert

February 19, 2021

Sooo, I’m a Sunday School teacher.

I REALLY didn’t want to be one. My best friend in New Zealand is a teacher, so I’ve had ample time to ponder over working with kids, and truely my heart has never felt called to wee ones.

I mean, I love my own children, and I do get to loving my friends’ kids as well once I know them, but I’m not and never was one of those women who just adored babies and wanted to cuddle every child I saw.

So when the usual turnout for kids at our church hit ten, and a Sunday School was mentioned, I pointed out I was still breastfeeding a baby.

She would probably need me.

So someone else picked up the slack, and I thought I’d snuck out of that one.

But then we needed Sunday School the next week…and the volunteer wasn’t there.

Before I knew it, not only had I been roped into teaching, but I was also the head organizer of The Falls Church Sunday School, by virtue of the fact that a) we are a small church and there was no one else to do it.

So I began the task of finding a curriculum, getting my head around the curriculum, and putting together a team of volunteers, training them in the curriculum, buying resources, and making a roster (the last part was my favourite).

But first I had to take my inaugural class.

And it was an utter disaster. I had a book and some balloons. The kids weren’t interested. Our classroom was set on a vast, sprawling network of trenches in a back yard where foundations were being dug for a cottage.

While I tried to shout out the book, the kids secretly tried to throw handfuls of sand at each other, or climb in the trenches.

Eventually a friend took over, while I tried to calm a crying Elodie down. She pointed out the book was a bit rubbish, so we gave up, blew up the balloons, and watched the kids play in the trenches, or swing off branches into the piles of sand.

If they learned anything, it was survival skills for the apocalypse.

The next attempt wasn’t much better. We met by an old settling pond, while I tried to keep the kids in order (again), and they ran, screaming, when a family of warthog meandered by. At one point I had to chase off a baboon…if they learned anything, it was how to judge the threat levels of wild animals based on proximity.

Fortunately, when we next met we had a location- an old dorm room, complete with sink, and toilet, which actually suited us quite well.

By now, I had worked out just how many games it takes to fill half an hour, how long little people will sit and listen, how many times you have to hammer home a point, and how much kids love dancing and singing.

If I do say so myself, I nailed it.

But to my very great surprise, I have to confess (and I feel uncomfortable about this) that I quite enjoyed it. Kids can be hilarious, and it’s great fun to sing at the top of your lungs without anyone caring that you’re off-tune.

In fact, when I thought about how our little church was growing, and how there might be a new Head of Sunday School for The Falls Church among them, I felt a little…protective. Like I would need to check that person out and make sure they were fun, and awesome enough. Like I might just need to sneak out of the services once in a while and make sure everything is ok- you know, just to check on MY kids.

And that’s how I got converted into a Sunday school teacher.

I blame the children.

9 thoughts on “An unlikely convert

  1. God does moves in mysterious ways Narelle, it’s lovely to hear your stories from back here in Hamilton. Keep up the great work and don’t stop storytelling. God bless you and your family – W


    1. Thanks William. What a very different life it is from the one I used to live! I hope all is well for you in Hamilton.


  2. Viki Johnson says:

    Yay!!!!!!!! Kids are the best!!!! Well done it sounds like you totally rocked it!!!
    Welcome to Ministry with Children.


    1. Thanks Viki- certainly not a guru like you but can definitely see it in a different way now.


    2. Well, we are getting there Viki! Always interesting in Africa with resources etc, but Faith Box is our tool of choice and we adapt as needed. It’s working well so far!


  3. Daphne Reed says:

    As I have said before , I love your experiences, I imagine myself in every setting….
    Well done to you Narelle x


    1. Thanks Daphne, it’s been a while but I’m hoping to get back into it a bit!


  4. You are so awesome. I miss you! PS We need a Sunday school teacher in Opotiki =)

    Aroha mai, aroha atu



    1. Well, Jess, I can think of a local Opo mum who would do a good job 😜


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