Twenty years ago, Samuel* was teaching in a church school in Benin, where nearly half the population are under 15.
“It’s what many of our young people do until they can get a proper job,” a pastor explained to SIM worker Megan Patterson, who at the time was serving in Benin at the time and is now SIM’s point person for education.
“Watching Samuel at work, he clearly had ability and seemed to enjoy being with the children,” recalls Megan, who invited Samuel to attend a series of training seminars.
For four consecutive summers, Samuel gave up two weeks in which he might have been working his fields, to study with other teachers.
“Some worked in government schools, but most were like Samuel, teaching in church schools dotted all over the area,” explains Megan, who is sent and supported by Livingston Free Church, Scotland.
“The seminars included an overview of the Bible story and encouragement to think through everything that happens in a classroom through the lens of the Bible,” she adds.
The training helped Samuel succeed in his professional exams and he is now a headmaster in a government school, where he is putting into practice all he learnt.
The school (above) is in a remote area, where school attendance is poor, but as Megan explains: “Samuel knows that growing food is important and he includes that and many other practical helps in the curriculum, showing by example the value of hard work.
“He is devoted to his pupils and their families.”
Asked how the seminars helped him, Samuel says: “Were it not for the training, I would have left teaching, but Jesus has made me one of his ambassadors.
“I learnt that sin has spoilt the whole world, making all teaching and learning difficult. However, the training taught me to love my pupils and helped me to understand myself better and to know that I and my pupils are made in God’s image.”
By Kerry Allan
If you would like to learn more about being an ambassador for Jesus in your school (even if you are not allowed to mention his name) have a look at this series of videos about what it is to be a Christian teacher and contact Megan ([email protected]) to find out more about teaching opportunities with SIM.
- Give thanks that Christ-centred education is a powerful force for the transformation of individuals and communities.
- Praise God that Samuel is making a real and lasting impact in the hearts and lives of his pupils.
- For Megan’s ministry to continue inspiring and equipping Christian teachers.