Apr 9, 2006

Ten Plagues: The Musical

Ten Plagues: The Musical Call it "Ten Plagues: The Musical."

We were invited to have a group from our Sunday school give a presentation at one of the main preschools in La Caramuca. There are two large public preschools here and two smaller satellite preschools, one of which is ours. Luz Maria has worked for many years as the school secretary at the big preschool near the town plaza. The teachers all know her and also they are all devout Catholic or Pentecostal Christians. Some of them are part of a Bible study that Luz Maria has started there. So they are very supportive of our efforts to start a Christian school, especially because there is so little work being done in Christian education of any kind in the area.

As I have mentioned before, there is not the extreme separation of church and state in Venezuela that you find more and more in the United States. Really in this respect Venezuela is not that different from the United States of 35 to 40 years ago. I remember when I was in grade school the public school always had an annual Christmas program which at least once was a dramatization of the Nativity taken straight from Luke's Gospel. Also, no one had a problem with men from the Gideons Society giving a presentation and passing out New Testaments during school hours, either.

Anyway, the Sunday school kids have just completed studying the life of Moses, so to tie in with the upcoming Holy Week, they acted out the story of the Ten Plagues and the Passover with song and dance. Singing is a big part of the Sunday school, so it was a big part of the presentation, too.

The group consisted of 10 children, mostly some of the older ones. By the way, I might mention that we have split the Sunday school into a class for children 10 and older and another class for children under 10.

There was a great deal of work put into making Pharaoh's crown, the staffs which turned into snakes and posters illustrating each of the 10 plagues. The plague of biting flies was compared to swarms of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species that is the main carrier of dengue and yellow fever in Venezuela. Most schoolchildren, even preschoolers, are familiar with this insect because health authorities in the last year have conducted a massive campaign not only to eradicate Aedes aegypti, but also to educate parents and children in prevention of painful and sometimes fatal dengue fever.

After the account of the final plague (the death of the firstborn) and the description of the first Passover, Luz Maria explained how Jesus instituted the sacrament usually called "la Santa ComuniĆ³n" among Catholics and "la Santa Cena" among evangelicals during an observance of la Pascua (Passover). By His death on the cross, He would offer Himself as the final sacrifice of "the Lamb without blemish" that through His blood all would have hope of salvation from God'sjudgment.

Afterward we left the preschool and bought all the children ice-cream cones from a street vendor. Most of these vendors push or pedal carts with insulated boxes full of ice cream, but this guy's cart also had a gas-driven refrigeration unit attached. That meant he could not move around as much, but since he had parked his rig outside the elementary school, he probably did not have to.

Under the program by which our preschool is licensed, we are supposed to receive money from the state government to provide hot breakfast and lunch for the preschool children. The funds have not been available for about a month or so, due to the fact that our preschool has grown faster than the program's budget, but we have been assured they will be after Holy Week.

Most of the children have been bringing food from home, be we have been paid for some of the children's meals ourselves. Fortunately, we have the benefit of a Makro membership. Makro is very much like Sam's Club in the United States and it is very economical to buy food in bulk there.

During Holy Week we plan to take our Bible story show on the road - to Punta Gorda where the children from La Caramuca can perform for the youngsters there.

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