Late July I attended a retreat with our partner the Church of Christ in Thailand for the Christian Volunteers in Thailand (CVT). The retreat was focused on English education and most of the CVT volunteers created lesson plans and taught all of us as if we were the students in their class. We had an array of lesson plans and age groups to explore and learn from.
However, I am currently working with the Institute of Religion, Culture & Peace. Instead of teaching English, I created a peacebuilding through storytelling lesson plan and engaged all of the CVT volunteers from around the world in the innovative practice of growing together through stories to achieve peace.
We had 7 volunteers from Nagaland, India; 7 volunteers from America; 2 volunteers from Germany; 1 volunteer from Korea; 1 volunteer from Brazil; and 1 volunteer from Thailand. We gathered in a circle and went over the elements of a story: setting, character, plot, and theme. We watched a video on storytelling and peacebuilding in Sudan. Then, we partnered up using story prompts and took turns sharing stories from our own lives. We then asked for volunteers to give constructive feedback telling what they enjoyed about their partner’s story and asked them to share something they wished to know more about. We shared together and with the larger group.
We learned through these stories what other people in our group valued, character traits individuals possessed, and how sharing these simple narratives created empathy with each other. It was an important time carved out to build relationships within our own diverse Christian community weaving us closer together with our neighbor and our Creator.
The last day of the retreat we went to Saha Christian Suska School where we led an Asean English camp. Each CVT volunteer’s classroom represented an Asean country and the children were given passports to travel and learn a different English lesson in each country. The award winning children’s choir performed two beautiful songs for us. It was a beautiful week growing and learning about the impact of kindness and communication cross culturally.
Kristin Wolf teaches English with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). Her appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.