I am quite thankful to be back to teaching children’s Sunday school for second graders at my church. This year, we’re teaching from the book of Acts, and I recently taught the story of Pentecost out of Acts 2.
One resource that was made available to us teachers at my church suggested teaching children how to say “Jesus is alive!” in one or more languages. Thanks to the not-theologically-a-miracle of Google Translate, I was able to easily look up “Jesus is alive” in fourteen languages. I chose these based upon concerns of geographical diversity, diversity of scripts (writing systems), and my own ability to vocally reproduce Google’s spoken translations. I’ve compiled these into a shared Google Sheets document for you to open, copy, and print as you wish. You may want to look up the pronunciations in Google Translate as needed. Depending on your situation, you may seek the assistance of someone who knows a foreign language or look up languages of countries where your local church has sent missionaries.
For each student in my class, I took one page and held it up, called out in what language it’s written, and demonstrated how to pronounce the sentence. But I didn’t tell them right away what the language was. Given that none of the children knew a second language (this may not be the case for you), they had fun trying to put together what the sentence was. Finally after all the languages were assigned, and I told them what was on the pages, I had them simultaneously call out their respective sentences.
The reaction was mostly good. Some reacted with astonishment at the different writing systems. Others were quite confused and struggled with the pronunciation. And they were happy to take the translations home with their crafts at the end of the day. One student asked me to print out an additional Chinese translation for him, as he was particularly amazed at the writing system. Overall, the point seemed to get across that (1) these were real, actual languages; (2) learning another actual language is really difficult and can’t be done instantaneously; and (3) only the Holy Spirit could have done this. And since only the Holy Spirit could have done this, it behooved the crowd to listen to Peter.