Alicia is baptised into Christ
I have been a disciple for just over twenty four years and have studied the Bible with many women but none like Alicia. Studying with Alicia has been an incredible experience.
Alicia has been attending church meetings with her mum, Roslyn, since she was about 11 years old. She is usually very serving and expresses care for others. She would often asked, “How are you today?” She always had a cheerful smile and never complained.
Unlike most of us, Alicia is unable to read and speak fluently. She attends a day group for vulnerable adults and enjoys some fun activities with others with similar disabilities like herself. Before studying the bible with her, Alicia and I built up a real bond of friendship. Every week I spent time with her at home, walking, evangelising etc. I went to a social evening of the day group she attends, because I wanted to see how she interfaces with other activities and her peers. The more time I spent with Alicia, the more I knew she would make a great disciple!
When I shared this with her mum, she reminded me that, “she cannot read!” I asked her what her age of understanding was. She said twelve years. I then said there must be a way! Let’s pray about it.
One night as I slept I saw a lot of pictures before me. It was then I got the vision of doing ‘Guard the Gospel’ in pictures. I realised that God had answered our prayers and I could use this method to study with Alicia. Each day I spent hours searching the net, books, a children’s’ Bible, wherever I was could, to find pictures to suit the scriptures.
After consulting with mum about Alicia’s daily activities, I set aside a specific day and time when to study with Alicia. When I was late I called to let her know, and when I could not make it I did the same, rescheduling immediately. This was very important for Alicia, to avoid creating anxiety and to keep the bond of trust between us.
Studies lasted for about forty-five minutes. At first I did only two or three scriptures, so as not to exasperate her. If ever I felt that she was anxious I let her know that we could stop. It did not matter if we only got through one scripture in a study. Some scriptures needed more than one picture illustration. I also used some of my own illustrative drawings and sometimes made reference to articles in the home or her personal items. Alicia responded well to both. As Alicia became more confident we were able to do more.
Pictures were in colour and of a variety – cartoon characters, real people and things, big, and small. Studies overlapped as I would review elements of previous studies to ensure that Alicia was retaining what she had heard and seen.
I gave Alicia challenges from the scriptures as I if were studying the Bible with anyone. These, however, mirrored her needs and understanding. She embraced them well. When Alicia ignored the challenge given, I postponed the study until she made progress.
This would not have been possible without the support of Alicia’s mum, Roslyn, who was involved in the studies from the beginning.
Mother, daughter and Cathy united in joy
Finally we reached “Counting the Cost”. The same picture concept was used. In the week running up to her immersion Alicia started telling others that she was getting baptised. When I asked her what song she would like to sing at her baptism, she said, “I’m going to view that Holy City “. There was no doubt in my mind, she knew what she wanted – Jesus.
Alicia & Cathy
This story is really about a very precious little girl, who was born underdeveloped in some ways, but with a heart that loved God. She was unable to express this like most men and women; but she had a mother whose heart was always protective, with a yearning that somehow, someday her daughter would make Jesus Lord. She didn’t know how. She never gave up hoping. As for me, I am humbled that God used me to unfold this story. To Him be the Glory!