Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Others teaching others: Anna

[Note: This is part 3 in the series. You can read part 1 and part 2 as well.]

Shawnda, here. I am so proud! Yesterday was one of those days that you sit back, observe what’s happening, and just smile. 

Here’s a bit of backstory to set the scene: You may remember Jack and Anna. They are young Christians from Tanna who are in Port Vila because their infant son rolled into a cooking fire back in November. Well, Jack has been studying as often as possible with Eric (sometimes daily, sometimes weekly depending on a temporary job schedule). Jack has been taking those studies home and sharing them with Anna every time. In addition to that, Anna and I have been having our own Bible studies once a week. Leimawa (a Christian lady from Etas), Anna and I have had some great discussions during these studies. I really see God working in all of our hearts as we read, discuss, and share about what the text says and how it applies to our lives. I’ve started taking a more “discussion-based” approach to Bible studies these days, and I really feel like it’s effective. It’s so encouraging and empowering to realize that we can read, understand, and apply the text all by ourselves. Both Leimawa and Anna have shared great insights & I am so proud of them. 

A few weeks ago Leimawa asked if we could start going through some of the studies we’d been doing together with the ladies in Etas village. We started those studies this past Tuesday afternoon. Since we would be doing the same studies that we have already done with Anna and Leimawa, I asked if it was okay…did they still want to join in? They both answered with a hearty “Yes - we’ll still learn something.” So, I ventured a little further and asked if they would be willing to help me lead some of the discussions. They both said, “Yes, no problem.” 

Last week, I lead the first study in Etas. Being their first time in a discussion-based study, the ladies did a pretty good job participating. It helped that Anna and Leimawa were used to the format and not afraid to share their thoughts/insights. 

Then on Monday after our regular study at Anna’s I casually said, “Okay, who is going to help me lead the study in Etas tomorrow?” Anna said, “Okay, I will.” So I told her the scripture that I would like her to share as an intro to the study. I reminded her what we had talked about and some questions she could ask to get a discussion going, and then we left. I have to admit, I thought, “Okay, at least it will be a start. I’m not expecting much. Maybe a minute.” 

The next day, on the way to Etas she said, “Last night in the middle of the night, I woke up and was so scared about today. I told Jack that he needed to wake up with me and listen to what I wanted to share to make sure it was okay.” I was so proud of her right then. She was scared, but didn’t allow that fear to keep her from doing what she wanted to do. 

When we arrived in Etas, none of the women were there yet (not completely surprising considering it’s Vanuatu and we were right on time). We sat there for about 30 minutes talking and waiting with no sign of anyone coming. I was starting to get a bit disappointed & I’m sure Anna had mixed emotions about it all. Then an hour after our “starting time” three ladies showed up and we started. We sat down and I purposely sat with my eyes down waiting for Anna to start the study by welcoming everyone and calling on one of the women to pray. Once they finished praying Anna jumped right in and started the study. She was awesome! I could tell she had spent a lot of time preparing. She not only read the text, she went back and phrase for phrase asked questions and shared her thoughts about each part. Then she pulled it all back together to maker her point. I hadn’t told her to do any of that…I was literally expecting a minute of regurgitated learning…but she blew me away! She had learned and processed it to the point that she was able to draw her own conclusions and share them in a clear way. 

We continued on with our study and had a great discussion, but it was that introduction by Anna that had the most impact. I could see in the ladies’ faces their pride in “one of their own” leading a study like she did. I could see their wheels turning as they thought, “I wonder if I could do that too?” 

This is what it’s about y’all! These ladies are not only learning and growing in their faith through the content of these studies…they are learning that they have something valuable to add to the group. That they are capable of learning, processing and sharing what God’s word says. And that it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. So that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 

It may not sound like much, a 5-10 minute Bible discussion led by a fairly new Christian, but as I sat with a group of ladies in Etas village, my heart was full. It was one of those moments where God just confirms that you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing. 


  1. That is great to see the hunger and willingness to share what she had learned, a great lesson for us all. It is not how much you know just share what you know.

  2. I have goose bumps right now and am SO excited to meet these wonderful Christian women in just a few short weeks! - Tara