We didn’t know what was going on, really, but just decided we should get in line because that’s what everyone else was doing, and deep down, no one really wants to look out of place, right? The smiling faces and the beat of the drums let us know that this was a happy occasion — a moment worth celebrating. But what it was they were celebrating, we had yet to discover. 

The lines moved toward a table in the center of the church, where a small mound of tiny, folded papers covered the tablecloth. The scraps of paper were barely big enough to pick up, but it seemed that each person was taking one. Okay, we can do that, too. 

Another moment of observation told us that once the people had chosen their little pieces of paper, they returned to their seats. Whew! That seemed painless enough. No need to sing a song for the congregation, or give a message of wisdom on an unknown topic this time! 

“Peace.” What did that mean?

As I sat down, I unfolded my little gift. “Peace,” it said simply. Maybe, like Chinese fortune cookie sayings, these were just little blessings written down for everyone to take home. Or maybe, I thought with a sense of worry in my heart, this was a way of dividing everyone into small groups to do a … GASP! … group activity. Well, no problem, we can handle this. No big deal. 

I looked over to see what was written on Steve’s paper, to see if at least we might be in the same group, but his paper simply had a circle on one side and a cross on the other. That was … unique. What kind of a blessing was that? 

After everyone had chosen a small square of paper, the woman in charge of the event paused by our row to make sure we had claimed our blessings. When she saw the one Steve had chosen, she immediately held it up high and everyone started cheering. We guessed that he had “won” something, but what? 

The lot had fallen on us.

More music and more celebrating ensued, and then the pastor explained to all that God had chosen Steve to be the new “Father of the Sunday School” for the coming school year (which, by default, made me the “Mother of the Sunday School”). Suddenly it was time for us to give our acceptance speeches for this position we didn’t even know existed. Nothing special, just a few words in honor of the occasion. 

Well. What to say? That we didn’t really understand what had just happened? That we didn’t know about a thing called Sunday School Parents? That it was all a mistake? 

Oh no, my friends. The lot was cast, and we were chosen. 

Even in the midst of confusion, there are things to be grateful for.

So many times since college have I recalled the advice of one of our campus ministers: “Be ready to preach, pray, sing, or die at a moment’s notice,” and here in front of us was just such an opportunity. But what to say in this situation? “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3: 17 NIV). Of course. It’s quite simple, really — we are to be thankful in every situation. Even in the midst of confusion, there are things to be grateful for. So Steve took the microphone and began a speech of thanksgiving that would have made his mother proud. 

The lot was cast. We were chosen. And what better motivation to continue the work of Bible translation than a growing Sunday School class with lots of children who need to hear the Word of God in their own language? The Lord surely knows what we need, even before we ask Him.

Alésha Hagemeyer
Alésha Hagemeyer serves our West Africa team in the areas of recruitment and member care. She, along with her husband Steve and their four children, first went to West Africa in 2014.
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