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Bringing them up in the Lord

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BIBLE SOCIETY NEWS
Wednesday 21 December 2016

About 60 million children in China are “left behind” in their home villages, to be looked after by their grandparents or relatives because their parents are trying to find work in cities.

This enormous group of neglected children – more than a quarter of the 215 million children in China – is in great need of hope, encouragement and care.

These “left-behind” children are highly vulnerable to serious crimes such as sexual abuse and assault and suffer from fear, loneliness and depression from being separated from their parents. Tragic events, including accidents and suicide, are often reported by local and international media.

“Among this emerging generation of left-behind children, some are coming under the care of Sunday school teachers.”

Among this emerging generation of left-behind children, some are coming under the care of Sunday school teachers. Rather than simply seeing their role as childcare workers, Sunday school teachers are doing their best to love the children in their care and teach them about God’s love.

But they face many challenges: the size of an average Sunday school class ranges from ten to 50 children aged from 3 to 15, usually under the care of one or two teachers.

Finding creative means to engage the interest of such a wide age range and range of needs is difficult, especially with inadequate materials, support and training.

As a result, some teachers are struggling to provide a proper Sunday school programme. This is why Bible Society is responding to the increasing demand for Sunday school by starting new classes and supporting teachers with training and materials, working closely with churches in China.

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Children reading illustrated Bibles in a Sunday school. Photographer: Dag Smemo

With the generous support of Bible Society donors, the impact upon rural China already is being felt. It is thanks to you that this year 40 Sunday school classes have been started, reaching about 2700 children. Another 80 classes are being set up, with a potential to serve another 7000 children. In addition, 500 copies of Pictorial Bible Stories are being distributed freely to children.

“Ultimately, my hope is that these children will grow up with the word of God in them because the world and people will eventually fail them, but God will never fail them.”

More than 160 Sunday School teachers undertook a summer training course to better prepare them to share God’s word and gain confidence in lesson planning and delivery. The course covered topics such as creative ways of memorising Scripture and Bible storytelling.

Zeng Zhenhua, 28, said: “I’m learning what it means to love the children. To bring them up in the way of the Lord is the most important task. We have been given the mission and responsibility to help our young ones
know God’s love through Sunday school, to pass on the faith to the next generation.”

Yang Yue Ming, of Nanjing, who has been teaching more than 40 children at Sunday school since 2007, said: “Ultimately, my hope is that these children will grow up with the word of God in them because the world and people will eventually fail them, but God will never fail them.”

We are on track to start 120 Sunday school classes, with 40 still to go, so will you help us reach the target of 180 new classes in China this year?

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