In a cross-cultural setting, we have had missteps and misunderstands simply because of the difference of language or culture. But the Uganda 2018 team found some wonderful commonalities even though they were dealing with cultural differences in worship (Anglican versus American Evangelical), teaching style (lecture to seated students versus hands-on discovery by active students) and even worship music styles. Here are some wonderful “crossings of the border,” so to speak, that came through impromptu and unexpected moments!
Andy Matroka writes, “After the training was complete on the third day, we had a short time of worship. Nathan (their Ugandan translator) was a bit hesitant about doing this; I don’t think he knew what we were talking about. However, Nicholas (KidZ team member) passed out some lyrics to a couple songs and led the first song with his guitar. The Ugandans were quite fascinated by this. We then asked them to share a Ugandan song with us—and went back and forth like this for a few songs!
This seemed to bring everyone a lot closer and raised the level of enthusiasm for everyone. We had only planned for two songs each, but ended up doing more because everyone kept asking for ‘just one more’! The worship time was a fun time for all. In just a few minutes of sharing songs from each culture, all of could see how the Lord works in our hearts.”
In a discussion with Nathan the next day, Andy asked how Nathan thought the teachers were receiving the training. He told Andy that the teachers initially came to the training out of a sense of obligation—but that now, they were coming because they didn’t want to miss out on what they are learning!
When it came time for the KidZ trainees to be the teachers, there were great moments of cross-cultural fun. Instead of a lecture, or even storytelling, here is some of what happened:
For David & Goliath, the teachers selected a David and a Goliath, some Philistines and some Israelites from the students. David tussled with Goliath and the Israelites chased the Philistines out of the classroom. The teachers had made up a song they taught to the kids, followed by some application questions. Participating like this was new to the kids.
For Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, the kids used water bottles for the priests use as trumpets, a cardboard box became the Ark and stood for the wall—and fell down! This group also did a song with lyrics they had made up and with hand clapping.
Once the teachers realized what they could do to help kids fully understand the Bible stories, they were delighted. It wasn’t hard to get them to transcend cultural norms so that they could involve kids in a variety of ways! KidZ training crossed the cultural boundaries and won hearts!
You, too, can cross the border (literally and figuratively!) while serving on a KidZ at Heart team in another country. KidZ at Heart trainings are now used in more than 40 countries, including the United States. Get started today!