From My Journal – Zimbabwe, Africa 2012 – Joe Greer
Gombalume, Zimbabwe – Monday, September 10th, 2012
A Teacher of Children – part one
To look around from this remote African village would not give one the impression that there is any reason to be encouraged. All you can see is sand and bush and then … bush and sand. As we traveled to Gombalume, we found the occasional village with thatched-roof huts made out of dung and mud … but that seems to be about it. There are no nice places to eat or shop, no air conditioned homes full of modern conveniences. And, there are few jobs to provide income to help improve this situation. It would be easy for any of us living in a situation like this to lose hope and become bitter … and maybe to become selfish.
And yet, in this village many have demonstrated a pleasant attitude, and some really stand out just because they want to make a difference. Juliette Moyo is a woman like that.
Juliette was one of the first to greet us as we pulled into the fenced area where the church meets in Gombalume. The brethren here have constructed a building for the saints to assemble in and have fashioned a fence made out of sticks around its perimeter to keep the animals out. Many were waiting for us to arrive and they surrounded our vehicle anxious to extend warm greetings.
As the greeters thinned, Juliette was there again, this time with something to show us. She announced that she is “a teacher of children” and had several of them lined up to demonstrate what they had been learning. She had them sing children’s Bible songs and quote Bible verses. The children were happy to demonstrate what they had learned and were visibly pleased at their accomplishments … and they should be. It was quite impressive. It is a great commitment to be “a teacher of children.” Time, effort, preparation …
It was obvious that Juliette had been spending considerable time working with these children. She did so not because she had nothing else to, but because she knew how important this was. Juliette has her own family. She is the mother of five, her baby still being nursed and carried on her back, and yet she made time to teach her own children as well as children in the village.
It is easy for us to say that our days are too full, or there are not enough hours in the day to get all of our work done and teach the children. Most likely, we already know that is not a very good answer.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:4-7
The Lord has not given us an excuse for why we cannot teach our children, but rather He has told us what He wants and expects us to do. If we are not teaching the children, how will we answer to God?
Another interesting observation: the children are paying attention to what we do. One of our greatest teaching opportunities for teaching our children is by our example. They need to see us working in the efforts of the kingdom. In this village, it is interesting to see that some of the older children are helping and encouraging the younger with the words to the songs and with the Bible passages they are saying. We can see then, there are young teachers instructing the smaller children. Hmmm … I wonder who they learned that from?
Of course, it was from Juliette, who has already demonstrated these things by being “a teacher of children.” The apostle Paul instructed, “the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women … teachers of good things” Titus 2:2-5 Godly men and women alike have responsibility to teach the younger.
Juliette, you are indeed a teacher to children, and you have taught this preacher as well. Thank you, dear sister.