The Greatest Journey Equips Teachers to Reach Children with the Gospel

March 13, 2017 • Guyana
Training for The Greatest Journey Teachers
Geeta, a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, helps lead a training for The Greatest Journey teachers.

Christian leaders in Guyana learn how to shine a light in the darkness to children through a 12-week discipleship course.

Teaching is difficult in Guyana. Educators often lack basic supplies, training, and support. But that is beginning to change thanks to The Greatest Journey and Operation Christmas Child.

In Linden, an interior mining town, a group of men and women gather to learn about how to teach The Greatest Journey, a post-shoebox 12-lesson Bible study course guiding children through what it means to faithfully follow Christ. They are young and old, Sunday school and public school teachers who are all volunteering their time to serve Christ.

During a training, teachers learn a new Gospel song that they can teach to children.

During a training, teachers learn a new Gospel song that they can teach to children as part of The Greatest Journey.

For many, the event was the first time that any of them had experienced educational training of any kind.

“I realized that I need to change my teaching strategies,” said Odessa, a trainee at the event.

A teacher herself, she was impressed with the training provided by the Operation Christmas Child National Leadership Team in Guyana.

“It was an awesome training, the plan, and organization,” she said. “As teachers, we often try to reach children at our level and not theirs.”

The training provides teachers with materials to lead children through The Greatest Journey, a New Testament for each child, and a framework to continue writing lesson plans. And they are seeing the impact of their efforts.

The Greatest Journey is building up a generation of Christian leaders who we hope can address problems that have deeply impacted the country and the church.

The Challenges Ahead

Currently, Guyana has the world’s highest suicide rate.

Though there is no definitive cause, some of the contributing factors include poverty in rural areas, the prevalence of alcohol abuse, and easy access to deadly substances.

Many of the children within The Greatest Journey speak of the trials and challenges they face.

Neville demonstrates how teachers can engage students with the Gospel

Neville Remkissoon demonstrates with a puppet how teachers can engage children with the Gospel message.

“One child drew a drawing about their parents with a stick and a bottle,” said Neville Remkissoon, a pastor and volunteer with the National Leadership Team.

“My parents drink a lot,” the child said. “I’m praying for them so they can stop drinking and go to church.”

Neville helps train and equip teachers to minister to children through The Greatest Journey and to share the light of the Gospel during some of their darkest times.

Because of a Gift

Grace is a first-grade teacher and a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey. She recently helped organize a teacher training for The Greatest Journey in Linden.

Through her volunteer role, Grace was able to distribute a small number of shoeboxes to students at her school.

Alisha* was 8 years old. She lived at home with her parents and brothers and was usually withdrawn at school.

Geeta demonstrates a song with hand motions that can engage children with the Gospel.

Geeta demonstrates a song with hand motions that can engage children with the Gospel.

“I would notice from time to time that her eyes would be swollen or see something on her skin,” Grace said. “We would always see something.”

So, Grace saw an opportunity and gave Alisha a shoebox.

“I gave her the shoebox gift, and she was so happy,” she said. “And because of the gift, I was able to tell her that Jesus loves her.”

Alisha was particularly in love with a doll in her shoebox and said that the doll would protect her.

Later, Alisha shared with Grace that she was being both physically and sexually abused at home.

“Because of the gift, she opened up to me,” Grace said. “If I had not given her that box, she would not have felt like she could talk to me.”

The Greatest Journey teachers receive materials and support.

The Greatest Journey teachers receive materials and support.

Grace reported the situation to the authorities, and the little girl was removed from the home.

Many children in Guyana face situations similar to Alisha’s. Volunteers with Operation Christmas Child continue to reach out to these lost and broken children with the light of Jesus Christ.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).

*Name changed for security.

Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.(Matthew 9:37-38). God is answering those prayers through The Greatest Journey, the discipleship program Samaritan’s Purse offers for boys and girls who receive shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child. We train teachers and supply local churches with everything they need—including Bibles for graduates. Through The Greatest Journey, over 3.8 million children have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, and 4.2 million have promised to prayerfully share the Gospel with friends and family.
The Greatest Journey Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is filled with people who have childlike faith. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). We praise God that more than 17 million children have made decisions for Christ through The Greatest Journey. When they graduate, we present them with the New Testament in their own language so they can continue to grow in their faith and share Jesus with friends and family members. Your gift of $6 per child will enable us to train local volunteer teachers and provide all the materials for the 12-lesson course, including the graduation Bibles.

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Suggested Gift: $6, or $6,000 for a thousand children