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Church Bible Study Guide by xqo30826


									     World Vision Gift Catalogue
Adult Bible Study Guide

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.
SESSION 1:                                                                       Rose grew up under the tyranny of repeated sexual abuse by her captors.
                                                                                 Rose became a mother three times during her years in captivity. Her first
                                                                                 son became separated from her during an attack on the rebel camp where
                                                                                 they were held prisoner. “That was one of the worst days of my life.
Mary’s Story                                                                     I never stopped crying,” remembers Rose.
Next to baby Jesus, his mother Mary is probably the most intriguing              But she also never stopped hoping and praying for her freedom and a
character in all the Bible readings linked to Christmas. She is a highly         reunion with her lost son.
sought after role in nativity pageants, with little girls vying for the honour
to portray her. With history on our side, we know when we read Mary’s            Both came true. “God saved us,” says Rose. After almost a decade of
story that both great joy and searing pain still lay ahead for this woman        enslavement, Rose broke free and made her way to World Vision’s
who calls herself a servant of the Lord.                                         Children of War Rehabilitation Centre in Gulu. Created especially for
                                                                                 people like Rose, the Centre helps former child slaves overcome their
Mary’s story is one of daring risk, sacrifice, deep faith and the saving         horrible memories and move on with their lives.
power of love and family. It is a story for today.
                                                                                 Rose found more than her freedom there. She found her firstborn son.
                                   Read Luke 1:26-38
                                                                                 “I thank God every day for leading him to World Vision.”
Bible Background
There is a good reason there are so many passages in both the Old and
New Testaments about caring for widows and the orphans. Women without            1. Mary took on the world when she said “yes” to God. It is interesting to
husbands and children without fathers were the poorest of the poor in               note that God gave her a choice. What do you think Mary’s top concerns
ancient Israel, vulnerable to extreme poverty, abuse and homelessness.              would have been as she considered her choices?
Mary’s “yes” to God changed the world forever. But it also changed her life      2. Rose’s story is almost impossible to imagine. Yet it is true for thousands
right then and there. Mary stepped into the unknown of potential rejection          of young women. What did you feel as you read Rose’s story?
at all levels—even stoning—at the hands of the world of her day.
                                                                                 3. God gave Mary support in Elizabeth and Joseph, who walked
Thankfully, that didn’t happen.                                                     alongside her. Rose took the first steps to healing at the World Vision
                                                                                    Rehabilitation Centre. What role did community and family play in
God placed people in Mary’s life—family—to walk with her on this                    the story of each of these brave women?
journey. Joseph rose to the occasion. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth became
confidante and co-conspirator with Mary in God’s miraculous breaking             4. As you look around your own community, which group of people do you
into history.                                                                       believe are the most vulnerable to poverty? In the global community?
Family encircled Mary. The world did indeed change forever.                      5. Spend some time brainstorming ways your church can offer love and
                                                                                    family to the most vulnerable among you.
Rose’s Story
                                                                                 6. Mary’s story — and Jesus’ birth — hinge on the fact that Mary offered
Rose is free now. But in her 19 years, she has lived through more than              herself to God’s service. In what ways might God be calling you and your
most people could hope to survive. Enslaved when she was five, Rose                 church to greater service to the poor and vulnerable, to a deeper “yes”?
watched her mother brutally murdered by the Lord’s Resistance Army
rebel group in Uganda.

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.                                             1 800 844-7993      •                              2
SESSION 2:                                                                     A police raid led to her freedom — but not before she contracted HIV.
                                                                               The police brought Kalliayan to World Vision’s Neavear Thmey trauma
                                                                               recovery centre. There she was gently given the opportunity to share her
Born in a Barn                                                                 ordeal with counsellors. First, she sat in silence or cried during the sharing
                                                                               sessions. Eventually Kalliayan felt safe enough to open up. “Afterwards, I
For those of us who know Luke’s account of Christmas well, there are           felt fresh and clear,” she says.
probably no more familiar words than “In those days Caesar Augustus…”
We know the rhythms of the story. It is the beginning of a turning point.      Counsellors began to work with Kalliayan to help her overcome her
We are getting closer to the birth of Jesus. And that short passage in Luke    experience. And understand her HIV-positive status. With anti-retroviral
2, from verses 1 to 7, covers a journey that plucked a very pregnant Mary      drugs scarce, children like Kalliayan need to learn strict rules of diet,
and steady Joseph from the comfort and security of home and family,            nutrition and health care to survive until adulthood. She is also learning
then sent them down a rocky trail, and into a Bethlehem barn. Yet some-        a trade, so she can support herself when she leaves the centre. Kalliayan is
how, hope and home came along with them.                                       becoming a masterful weaver of traditional designs in Cambodian silk. She
                                                                               plans to return to her family, knowing full well that when she leaves she
                                   Read Luke 2:1-7                             will be saying goodbye to a special community — whose strength she will
                                                                               carry with her.
Bible Background
Romans ruled the land into which Jesus was born. The Jewish self-
government reported to the authority of the local Roman government,            1. Share your earliest memory of hearing the familiar words of the
represented by King Herod. Herod in turn obeyed Rome, and the infamous            Christmas story. What ramifications did Caesar Augustus’ decree
Emperor Augustus. It was Roman law, made for the convenience of Rome,             have for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus?
which required the family to travel when Mary was preparing to give birth.
                                                                               2. Where is the most unlikely place you have personally experienced
A barn in Bethlehem would not be anyone’s choice for a birthing room.             a sense of home, family or community?
But Mary must have packed along the swaddling bands and linen strips
that she knew she would need. She was prepared. Her son would be born          3. Kalliayan was tricked into leaving her home for a nightmare. Now
homeless, and that’s how he would spend a good deal of his life. Yet hope,        she will carry those scars with her the rest of her life. But she did find
home and a community of sorts would exist that night in Bethlehem in the          community again at the World Vision Neavear Thmey trauma recovery
most unlikely of holy places.                                                     centre. Why do you think Kalliayan eventually felt safe enough to open
                                                                                  up and share her story with the counsellors?
And hope, home and a ragtag community would follow Jesus wherever
He would go.                                                                   4. How does Kalliayan’s story enlarge your understanding of hope
                                                                                  and home?
Kalliayan’s story
                                                                               5. How did you feel when you read that Kalliayan contracted the HIV
Kalliayan is 14 and a survivor of Cambodia’s flourishing illegal child sex        virus during her time of sexual enslavement? When you discovered
industry. Kalliayan was lured from the home of her poor family with the           that it is unlikely that she will have access to the drugs that are so
promise of a well-paying job in the capital city. Instead, she found herself      readily available in North America?
servicing up to 20 clients a day in a brothel that specialized in offering
very young children to its visitors.                                           6. How is your church involved in the building of hope and home in
                                                                                  unlikely places?

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.                                           1 800 844-7993      •                               4
SESSION 3:                                                                   That was the case for Fikile’s family. She is an 11-year-old girl who lives
                                                                             with her mother, brother and her extended family in a compound that
                                                                             used to be empty. Now there are goats and chickens.
Unlikely Heroes                                                              Fikile is a World Vision sponsored child. In 2003, Fikile received a goat
                                                                             from World Vision. Today, she has five. The chicken that was given to her
The God who chose to partner with an unwed mother and be born in a           later also reproduced, and today there are five of those as well. The family
barn continues the theme of love, courage, family and a community that       was even able to build pens for their animals, further raising their status
rises to the occasion as we read further in Luke. Probably only in a God-    and dignity in the community.
story would angels and shepherds mix and mingle in a field outside of
Bethlehem. Angels visiting shepherds says something important about          Fikile has plans. She hopes to eventually sell some of her goats to buy
angels and shepherds — and you and me.                                       a cow. She and her mother have already sold one of the chickens to pay
                                                                             a medical bill. Fikile also dreams of buying a pair of shoes.
                                 Read Luke 2:8-20
                                                                             This family still struggles. They have one meal a day, and rely on World
Bible Background                                                             Vision food rations because of a recent drought.
These shepherds of the Nativity certainly aren’t the only, or the first,     What they do have is the respect of their community and a very real and
shepherds mentioned in the Bible. David was one, after all. So were          living hope, embodied in the enthusiasm of their daughter Fikile — and
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is even compared to a shepherd in Psalm 23.    her small but growing flock.
But the guys who were on duty that night in Bethlehem, were most likely      Discuss:
the other sort of shepherds — the ones with the bad reputations.
                                                                             1. Given the unsavoury reputation of shepherds, what do you think Mary
Hired shepherds were known for being thieves. Often alone for long              and Joseph might have felt when the group first appeared at the door
stretches of time, if sheep or produce went missing, it was the shepherds       of the stable?
who were blamed. The pious were even warned not to buy anything from
shepherds, because it was probably stolen goods. One ancient Jewish          2. If we are totally honest, we all could probably confess to feeling bias
philosopher wrote that the livelihood of looking after sheep and goats          towards some group at some point in our lives. Why do you think
was “mean and inglorious.”                                                      that is? How does this part of the biblical story challenge us to grow
                                                                                beyond prejudice?
But that night, glory was not in short supply. It shone all around. The
angels appeared and told the shepherds that the Saviour had been born.       3. In Fikile’s circumstance it was the absence of livestock that damaged her
But their message went deeper than that. By announcing the dawning of           family’s reputation. Is there an equivalent “status symbol” in our society?
the Kingdom to the lowly, God said something about the value of those           How does it impact you and your family?
the world dismisses. God is saying that still.
                                                                             4. Name some groups of people that you think are considered outcasts
Fikile’s story                                                                  or of bad reputation in today’s society. Can you picture God sending
                                                                                angels to give them an important and exclusive announcement?
In Swaziland, livestock like cattle and goats show how wealthy you are —        Why or why not?
or how poor you are. If a family in Swazi culture does not have livestock,
it is not considered respectable.                                            5. How is your church involved in reaching out to the outcasts of society?
                                                                             6. Could you be more involved?

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.                                         1 800 844-7993      •                               6
SESSION 4:                                                                        The Child Friendly Space (CFS) where he and his new friends learn and
                                                                                  play is one bright spot in a camp made up of plastic dwellings in a sea of
                                                                                  hurting people. World Vision runs two Child Friendly Spaces there, as
                                                                                  well as a feeding centre and a women’s empowerment centre.
God as Refugee
                                                                                  At the CFS, Abdullah can keep up with his school work and talk freely
It has been named the Slaughter of the Innocents. And it is the dark stain        about the trauma he has witnessed during his country’s conflict. He divides
on the Christmas story. Herod, threatened by the birth of the child people        his time between the CFS and working as a “porter” at a nearby market
are calling a king, orders the murder of all male children in and around          with a borrowed wheelbarrow — all in an attempt to try and help his
Bethlehem aged two and under. We can hardly comprehend it. As is the              mother cope.
case in so many atrocities today, the powerful are threatened and the
innocent die. Yet God prevailed in this story. Another angel. Another             Abdullah’s teachers say he is a stellar student. And he’s definitely a great
message. Another journey. God’s Son becomes, for a time, a member                 soccer player. At 11, he’s seen so much. And at 11 he has shown so much:
of a refugee family making their way to Egypt.                                    courage, resilience and a love for life that persists against all the odds.
                                   Read Matthew 2:13-18                           Discuss:
Bible Background                                                                  1. We tend to disregard the account of the Slaughter of the Innocents.
                                                                                     How does acknowledging this event add or detract from your feelings
King Herod the Great ranks in the world’s history books as a despicable              about Christmas?
despot. His reign is chronicled as one atrocity after another. It is believed
that Herod died around 4 BC. The Slaughter would have been one of his             2. In Abdullah’s story, we see a current event that includes an atrocity.
last acts as a ruler, and perhaps one of his most cowardly.                          A young boy and his family witnessing horror, with a crowded refugee
                                                                                     camp their best hope. Yet Abdullah’s character shines through. What
God’s messenger assures Mary and Joseph that their child will be safe.               inspires you about this boy’s story?
They are given specific directions and a promise of further communication
when it is time to leave Egypt. We see that Herod’s grasp of worldly power        3. It is a very human question to ask “How could God let this happen?”
cannot come close to God’s saving power.                                             in relation to Herod’s act as well as Abdullah’s story. Yet we see time
                                                                                     and time again that God’s nature is one of restoring and rebuilding after
In this story, throughout the whole Bible, and in today’s world, when                humans mess up. What would happen if we asked this question instead:
conflict rages and even when innocents die, God is still doing the work              “What can we do about this thing that has happened?”
of redeeming, restoring and protecting. It is people who commit atrocities
like Herod’s. And it is people that God uses to bring peace.                      4. List the top three areas of conflict you know about in the world today.
                                                                                     Share any stories of hope and healing you have heard from those areas.
Abdullah’s story                                                                     If you don’t know any, try and find some!
In many ways, Abdullah is just like any other 11-year-old guy. He wears           5. How does your church help educate its people about working for peace?
a yellow shirt like his favourite soccer player. And he is known as the best         Is your denomination involved in peace work? Share what you know.
soccer player in the group of kids he hangs out with. That group of kids is
at a World Vision Child Friendly Space in a refugee camp in South Darfur.         6. Think of areas in your own life and relationships that cry out for peace
                                                                                     and justice. If you are comfortable, share one way you will live differently
Abdullah and his family are refugees of a brutal civil war that killed their         this Christmas season, to bring about peace on earth, even if just in your
father. Their village was attacked and destroyed in 2005. They lost everything.      little corner of the earth.
Their home, their livestock, their friends and of course, their father.

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.                                              1 800 844-7993      •                                8

Share Christ’s love. Give joy. Change the world.   1 800 844-7993   •   10

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