|Tsega considers her spiritual growth to be a blessing.
Nine-year-old Tsega Seifu, is one of the vibrant children in the Sunday school at Evangelical Church of Mekane Yesus. She has been in Sunday school since she was three and has enjoyed the fellowship ever since. She is a Children’s Choir member and considers the steady spiritual growth to be a blessing. ‘‘I very much like reading the story of Eve and Adam but do not want to be disobedient as she was,’’ she said.
Evangelical Church of Mekane Yesus is one of the oldest local churches in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The church started worship service 47 years ago with 12 believers and five Sunday school children. Priest Kebede Abebaw (60) remembers the beginning, renting a small room to start devotions and Sunday school class. Neither he, or his one deacon, had received training or had study or teaching guides.
|Students engage with Sunday school teachers.|
Most people in this poverty-stricken community didn’t have jobs or incomes. Although the church worked tirelessly to witness the good news of God, new believers hardly attended Sunday services. ‘‘The church prayed ardently that God breaks the vicious circle of grinding abject poverty and the people of God would enjoy the new life with Jesus,’’ Priest Kebede said.
Currently, there are more than 2000 worshippers, 250 children and 20 teachers in the church. ‘‘Here is proof that God heard and answered our prayers. Nothing is impossible for Him and we often sing Rehoboth,’’ the priest added.
World Vision Ethiopia’s Kolfe Keraniyo Area Program is partnering with the church to offer Training of Trainers (TOT) to Priest Kebede and several teachers. The program focuses on child care and development, child psychology, roles and responsibilities of children, marriage and positive parenting and children character formation.
Elias Mekonnen (35) is one of the teachers at the church who recieved training. He said the training changed his way of thinking and teaching methodology. ‘‘It didn’t take me long to adjust my approach,’’ he said. The material helped not only Elias but also the kids as he has observed a remarkable difference in their interactions. Soon after the training, he began treating his son in a different manner, listening to him and being more responsive, which he says is building confidence in the child.
Elias now understands that spiritual teaching includes character formation of children. ‘‘If the Sunday school teachings focus on love, mercy, forgiveness, truth, freedom, faith and joy, the child’s mind can retain and be reflected in their lives,’’ said Elias.
Asked if she observes any positive impact that the Sunday school has brought in her life, Tsega replied with a smile, ‘‘I am different in many ways. I exhibit, to some extent, the fruits of spiritual life.’’ She hopes to keep growing spiritually and physically. Tsega dreams of becoming a prophet when she grows up.