18 Oct 2014 by Jason Law CM –
Last Saturday, the 11th of October 2014, was a blessed day in which the families and underprivileged of Kajang were blessed by the church of Kajang Assembly of God. It was a packed day for many of those who were involved in the church’s ministry, but the joyful faces on those being blessed made it a memorable day for everyone.
In the morning, about 50 of the less privileged of Kajang were blessed with a tour to the well-known Beryl’s chocolate factory in Serdang. After being shown a documentary about the process of chocolate-making, they were given a comprehensive guided tour of the factory, learning about the history and other aspects of the industry.
The best part was being able to watch the process first-hand. The tour ended with a chocolate-tasting session, before being treated to a lunch at Sam You restaurant. Each person in the group took home a complimentary goody bag before continuing the day with an outing at Putrajaya.
For others, the main highlight of the day, however, was the Shuffle Champ competition at the church’s venue itself. The competition drew more than a 100 participants ranging from as early an age as 4-years old to the age of 12.
Pastor Petra Ho, the visionary behind the Bible Phonics programme and the Shuffle Champ, shared her mission behind her ministry. The Bible Phonics teaches phonics and reading by using Bible Stories, while the Shuffle Champ is a non-Bible reading programme. ‘What we want to do through these two ministries is to share the love – and through the Bible Phonics programme – the message of God in a non-threatening way,’ she shared.
All the children who participated in the Shuffle Champ spelling competition took part not just in spelling but also in games that train other skills such as hand-eye coordination. For the kids who started with spelling, after the spelling, the kids went for games. Those who began with games, then went for the spelling session. Meanwhile, parents are also treated to a movie with healthy family themes. ‘The event is really a family-oriented one and not just catered specifically to the participants,’ Pastor Petra shared.
During the Shuffle Champ spelling competition, children are separated based on their age. They then have to spell words with colour blocks that are imprinted with alphabet on each side, and it’s all done within an authentic competition setting, guided by rules, timing and everything.
The Shuffle Champ programme has 2 levels and caters for ages 3-5. However, its Spelling Competition does cover a wide range of age groups and the blocks can form more than 3000 words. The primary aim of the Shuffle Champ is to educate children from an early age about spelling and Phonics, and to continue this until the children has a firm grasp of these elements of the English language. However, underlying it, there is also a more important aspiration for the ministry.
‘What we want to create is a setting in which families come together to spend a day, not just with fun, but at the same time, family values are inculcated. I have seen many children, and what amazes me is how fast they learn. One mildly autistic boy was taught phonics at an early age, and by the age of 2 years, he could already begin to sound out the word ‘mango’ just by looking at a Yeo’s packet drink.
Our aim is simple, and that is simply to provide a programme that strengthens both the reading abilities of the nation’s children, and the family bond. It would be even greater if the love of God can be shared in a tangible way through what we do.’
The Shuffle Champ was in fact, held in Kajang Assembly of God, for the first time. KAOG is taking up the mandate to be a community-relevant church. Sister Shally Chin from KAOG’s children’s ministry shared that she brought the programme into the church after knowing about it and seeing the impact it has on children and families.
‘Families and children are really important to God. This year, we are taking up the community outreach approach seriously. We need to start children young in values and equip them with knowledge,’ she shared.
The spelling competition encourages every one of its participants by ensuring that each of them leave with something. While the top three placers were rewarded with prizes that were slightly more special, every participant was rewarded with a medal of participation.
Pastor Petra also has a Bible Phonics ministry that encompasses a whole range of materials like reading programmes, books, DVDs, puppet shows, weekly lessons, and assessments. The day ended with a Night of Worship session held at the main auditorium of the church.
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