In cultures where children are regarded as less important there is often a lack of appreciation for the work of Sunday Schools. Many Sunday school teachers themselves do not see their work as valuable, and often the children’s ministry is focused on simply keeping the children quiet and out of trouble.
With this in mind, OMF members Rachel Hill and Esther Stockli – together with a Cambodian woman named Sophoin – have spent the last six months running a Sunday School Trainer Course for eight students from four provinces across Cambodia: Battambang, Kompong Chnang, Kompot and Phnom Penh. The students attended training sessions in Phnom Penh every three weeks for two half-days, on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (a schedule which provided for travelling time for those coming into Phnom Penh from the Provinces). As a Trainer Course, the intention was always that those who attended would go on to then teach the course
for Sunday school teachers in their own home provinces.
“We realized a need not only to teach creative ideas for storying the Bible” says Rachel, “but also an understanding of the reason why we teach children i.e. that each child is special and loved by God and that God wants to meet with them and have a personal relationship with them.” The idea of doing the course over a period of several months was to give an on-going understanding of Children’s Ministry, and for the teachers themselves to be transformed in their own thinking about the subject. “The course itself went well” says Esther, “with the students having fun as well as serious times of sharing about their own experiences, challenges and mistakes.”