BSF India: Gospel Impact in the Classroom

BSF India: Gospel Impact in the Classroom

BSF India: Gospel impact in the classroom

BY ANUKRIPA ELANGO | BSF GROUP LEADER
CHENNAI, INDIA
TRANSFORMING TEACHERS:
I n 2014, a group of 40 teachers met after school for the first Bible Study Fellowship satellite class at Anita Methodist School in Chennai, India. Three years later, the handprints of God’s Word are seen across the culture of the school.

“You don’t expect God to talk to your problems,” said Rachel, a teacher, who was initially reluctant to be a part of a BSF group. “But He does! He teaches you how to handle crises with an understanding of eternity.”

Studying God’s Word side-by-side cemented the group of colleagues as a family and taught them to reach into one another’s lives with love. They struggle through difficult marriages, financial trouble and sickness in their private lives, while drawing strength from the people who walk beside them at work.

Conversations about God and His Word spill out of their weekly BSF class time into their downtime in the staff rooms.

“It has altered the way we speak to each other,” said Shanthi, another teacher and BSF member. “A colleague and I were in a staff room, just the two of us. In the course of our conversation, I said something unkind about somebody. My colleague, without skipping a beat in hesitation, asked me to pipe down and be wary of my words. Earlier that week, we had read in Romans that anyone who judges someone else condemns themselves. We were learning from the Word together. That nudged her to hold me accountable and gave me an immediate opportunity to correct myself.”

As the Word of God grows roots into the hearts of the staff at Anita Methodist, it has also impacted students. The school follows a model of servant leadership, using it as an opportunity to set more children on the narrow road. Christian students continue to step into leadership roles with a sense of compassion and humility. Through their example, students from other faiths are choosing to give their lives to Christ, as well.

Teachers saw this focus on hard work and kindness during a recent Sports Week. In the middle of a feverish volleyball match, the captain of the leading team walked to the other side of the court to help an opponent with their play.

The winning captain of another match insisted that the other captains come forward to receive the trophy with him, because, “sports isn’t about competing with each other; it’s about playing together”

The teachers at Anita Methodist firmly believe these are expressions of a profound shift in the school, evidence of the Word of God hammering their lives into shape.

“If they know nothing else about us,” said the school’s principal, “we want people to know that this school comes together to celebrate our children and love their Creator.”

UNITING STAFF:

After experiencing the transforming power of God’s Word, the Anita Methodist teachers felt compelled to share it with others at the school.

“It’s like eating the best chocolate ice cream in the world without ever sharing it,” Joan said. “How can I not talk about that to everybody?”

In response, the teachers organized a parallel Bible study for their janitorial staff.

Teachers take turns leading a daily Bible study of Romans for 22 men and women who cannot read or write. They work together to translate study material into Tamil for their oral classtime. Though the team often frets about the inadequacies of their translations, it is clear the security of Christ’s love is difficult to lose in translation.

The study has grown to be a safe place for the workers, as one of them said, “I have learned to be safe in God here.”

Another class member shared, “Learning from the Bible like this is like eating vada payasamevery morning!,” comparing the study to a traditional Indian dessert.

ETERNAL IMPACT:

As the Word of God grows roots into the hearts of the staff at Anita Methodist, it has also impacted students. The school follows a model of servant leadership, using it as an opportunity to set more children on the narrow road. Christian students continue to step into leadership roles with a sense of compassion and humility. Through their example, students from other faiths are choosing to give their lives to Christ, as well.

Teachers saw this focus on hard work and kindness during a recent Sports Week. In the middle of a feverish volleyball match, the captain of the leading team walked to the other side of the court to help an opponent with their play.

The winning captain of another match insisted that the other captains come forward to receive the trophy with him, because, “sports isn’t about competing with each other; it’s about playing together”

The teachers at Anita Methodist firmly believe these are expressions of a profound shift in the school, evidence of the Word of God hammering their lives into shape.

“If they know nothing else about us,” said the school’s principal, “we want people to know that this school comes together to celebrate our children and love their Creator.”

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