Last week Wednesday I accompanied a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Randall Sammah, to a Religious Instruction (RI) class for the first time. I had carried a copy of my book, From Lion to Lamb A Spiritual Journey, as a gift for him and for the church. In casual talk he mentioned about the class and his frustration with the way it was unfolding. He talked about wanting to abort that mission as he felt it was time not effectively spent. I urged him not to do so and I volunteered to go with him as support. He agreed but the next session was postponed because of another appointment he had in Port of Spain, the capital city of Trinidad.
The following week I persisted and called on the Tuesday to enquire if we were still on; to my delight, his answer was yes. That Wednesday morning was wet. Rain fell all night and there were still heavy showers in the morning. Nothing was going to prevent me from going though. I set off, not sure of what to expect.
There was a lot of movement and activity on the ground floor of the building to which we were assigned. The classroom to which we were headed was occupied and the other one was locked. We ended up in a different room from the one he had used previously and we had Baptists and a Pentecostal student. That to me was no big deal. He was again a little reluctant but stayed.
As the session began, Rev. turned to me and said that he would begin with my story. Remember, I just went for moral support. Anyway, I introduced myself as a past teacher at their school and then I began my story. The students participated when called upon, one volunteered information and all in all they were attentive. There were no distractions and at the end, Rev was able to summarize my contribution and bring it to a spiritual conclusion. They were left with one lesson on patience.
At the end of the class period, Rev. Sammah declared that it was the best class he had ever had with them. I was overjoyed and energized. I think we both were excited about returning the following week (which as it turns out, is today).
Today when we arrived, the girls at last week’s class, sought me out, declaring that they were going wherever I was going. We had more than twice the number of students this week and far more were boys. The class was a little more hyperactive than last week but once again there was participation and attention. I did not speak for the first half of the class but they were still relatively well behaved- in fact I was pleased.
Near the end of the session I was asked to retell my story, The students were eager to hear it: some to hear it again; and some for the first time. I told the story but tied it in to the topic for the day which was peace at Christmas. Again the students were attentive and could not seem to get enough of the gory details. The good part was that we were able to use my story to bring a message of peace and forgiveness over violence.
At the end of the morning’s session, the minister was able to pray with them and then I thanked them for coming. When asked if they were coming to the next class, they responded positively, if I was coming, they would come too. Again I left feeling satisfied and rewarded. Can’t wait for the next class but it will not be until next year now.
What are you doing for someone else that brings you joy and happiness? Please let me know what you think about our RI classes by leaving a comment or perhaps you could send me an email at caron_asgarali@yahoo,com. Looking forward to hearing from you, until next post stay strong.