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Families in Eastern and Southern Africa Grow Through New ‘Playful’ Devotional

Families in Eastern and Southern Africa Grow
Sawubona Families, a devotional that Resonate missionaries in eastern and southern Africa created in collaboration with local experts, inspired one family to care for a neighbor in need by purchasing her a mattress.

Families play an important role in the spiritual formation of children, said Resonate Global Mission missionary Megan Ribbens. But for parents, it’s not always easy to know how to talk with your children about the Bible in a fun and engaging way.

Sawubona Families, a new interactive devotional, has inspired families throughout eastern and southern Africa to connect with one another and grow as disciples of Christ.

This “playful” study on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) was developed by Resonate workers in collaboration with local experts. The devotional invites parents and children to read Scripture together and share with one another in a fun and engaging way while tapping into African cultural strengths, such as storytelling, traditional games, music, and African proverbs.

As part of helping families build character as disciples of Christ and grow in the fruit of the Spirit, Sawubona Families also encourages families to look outward. Each week, families using the devotional explore and plan ways they can love their neighbors.

“We hoped this would motivate and inspire families to respond with Christ’s love in concrete ways,” said Ribbens.

It did.

Children of one family helped carry groceries upstairs to a neighbor’s apartment. Another family purchased a new mattress for a woman in their community who wasn’t easily able to afford one herself. One family felt moved to minister to a single mother living in an abandoned building with her newborn daughter. The family was able to secure safe shelter and healthy meals for the mother and daughter while building a friendship. Week after week they met together to read and discuss the fruit of the Spirit. One day, the mother decided to give her life to Christ.

Resonate team members who worked on developing Sawubona Families were encouraged by participating in the lessons and hearing testimonies from families throughout the region.

“I was surprised and personally challenged at the lengths some families went to see and help their neighbors, especially in a time of social distancing and so many restrictions,” Ribbens said.

Spiritual formation and discipleship ministries do not work well with a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important to work with context-specific resources.

“We were reminded of how valuable local expertise, resources, and abilities are,” Ribbens said. “Local expertise and the abilities of content consultants, graphic designers, videographers, and children who recorded stories made Sawubona Families so very rich.”

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