The Alongsiders movement holds the exciting promise of equipping one generation to reach the next.
Built into our model is a powerful strategy of learning - not just for the sake of learning - but learning in order to pass on wisdom to someone else.
Rooted in a relational discipleship model, we believe our training is more likely to be internalized and thus create change in individual lives and communities.
Because our context is one with low rates of literacy, and because we are working with young children, we needed to develop lessons that could be delivered visually, through contextualized story-telling rather than through lists of information or rote learning.
We want to inspire and connect with each vulnerable child at a heart level, while also training our Alongsiders who are eager to learn.
One morning, as we began to develop our thoughts about a new curriculum, we met with Pastor Sokha, a talented Khmer artist. He shared his passion for visually presenting truths and we talked about the idea of creating a comic book for each lesson - encapsulating each lesson in a powerful and easily accessible visual story.
Each comic book would end with a group activity, to ensure the knowledge would be put into practice (the power of peer pressure again!), and a set of questions which each pair could work through to earn a certificate at the end of the year.
At the end of that meeting, I hurried to another meeting with some out of town visitors who wanted to know how they might help Alongsiders. I asked the Canadian visitor what he did in Vancouver. And he shared that he was an artist, an illustrator in fact, for Marvel Comics!
God has a great sense of humor and a beautiful way of providing the resources and people we need to do his work amongst the most vulnerable children in the world.
We are in the process of developing a three year curriculum that will see each of our hundreds of Alongsiders work through 27 life-changing lessons with their little brother or sister, in the context of a caring relationship.
Soon we will announce the names of those on the amazing advisory group that is coming together to give input on the curriculum. Just another example of God's provision.