Donate | VOM Resources

Colombia Lesson Plan: Sticking to the Task

Students will learn the meaning of perseverance. They will learn that God can help Christians overcome obstacles which threaten to get in the way of following His will.

Explain: In some countries, Christians are forced away from their homes and villages because they follow Jesus. The Christians become refugees. Refugees are people who flee from an unsafe place to a safer place. But sometimes the refugee camps where they go are not very nice or comfortable.

Make a refugee shelter



Needed: A large sheet, 4 long poles at least the size of mop or broom handles, 4–8 strong rubber bands, 4 chairs with rungs, duct tape or other strong tape.

  • Make enough shelters for all the students to be able to sit in them in groups, or let groups take turns sitting in the shelter throughout the lesson.
  • Either make the shelters in advance, or practice setting up one in advance, then let the students help set up one or more additional shelters.
  • Tie or tape the each corner of the sheet to one pole. Secure the sheets corners with rubber bands. Anchor each pole through the supports on one of the chairs. Tape one end of each pole to the leg of the chair to which it is anchored.

Tell the following true story.

Talia’s Family


Talia was 6 years old and she lived in Colombia, a country in South America. Christians from America met Talia when they visited Colombia. They asked Talia, “Do you go to school?” Talia answered, “No.”

“Are you on vacation?” the visitors asked. “No,” answered Talia.

Talia’s parents explained why she was not in school. One day, some guerrillas came to see Talia’s father. These were not “gorillas” that you might see in a zoo. They were guerrillas, who are people who carry out acts of war, even though they are not part of a regular army.

The guerrillas ordered Talia’s father to pay them a tax. They said something bad would happen if he didn’t pay them. Talia’s father refused to pay. He told the guerrillas, “We believe in Jesus Christ. Our protection comes from the Lord, not you.”

Later the guerrillas came back. They destroyed a store that Talia’s father owned, and chased Talia’s family out of their house. The family had to move to a refugee camp. Talia’s new home was made out of four long sticks and a sheet. There was no place for here to go to school.

Talia’s father began selling oranges to make money for food. Every night when Talia’s family went to sleep in their small shelter, they did not know where their next meal would come from. Together they prayed, “God, you are our substance, our strength, and our provider.” They thanked God for the food he would provide for them the next day. Every day, God provided for them. And Talia’s father told everyone who bought his oranges about Jesus.

Verse to Read and Discuss
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised,” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV).

Ask: Do you know what it means to “persevere?” (It means to keep on doing something even when things happen that make it difficult to continue.) How did Talia’s father persevere? (He kept on depending on God even after he lost his home for doing so.)

Explain: The verse says after you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. He had promised eternal life to those who believe in his Son, Jesus, and follow him.

Note: You may want to use this opportunity to explain how we become followers of Jesus.

Bible Story: How to Build a Wall in 52 Days
[If desired, prepare a short wall made of cardboard building bricks/blocks and enough additional blocks to complete the wall to the height you want. Provide cardboard cutout swords and tools, a trumpet, a letter, and other props necessary for the children to silently act out the story as you read it. Assign parts so the children can depict some or all of the characters in the story, plus extra wall builders if you have more than enough actors.]

Explain: Our next story is about Nehemiah, a man in Bible times who persevered. As you listen to the story, notice the ways that Nehemiah persevered.

Nehemiah was a servant of the king of Persia. He was also a Jew and a follower of God.

Visitors came from Jerusalem to see Nehemiah. They told him that Jerusalem was in ruins, the wall around the city was broken down, and the people were sad and poor. Years before, enemies took captives from the city, burned the buildings, and tore down the walls. But it seems that Nehemiah did not realize that Jerusalem was still in such bad shape.

Like other Jews, Nehemiah loved Jerusalem. When he heard the news, he cried, and he prayed to God for help. Thankfully, the king allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem, and he provided him with the help and supplies he would need on the trip.

The people of Jerusalem quickly joined Nehemiah in rebuilding their walls. Walls were important to cities in Bible times because they kept out thieves and enemies. The Jews worked hard to finish their wall. The Bible says, “The people had a mind to work.”

Since everyone had a good attitude toward the work, things went smoothly at first. But Nehemiah and the Jews had enemies. Three of the enemies were Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. These men and their followers tried several things to stop the Jews from rebuilding the walls.

At first the men laughed and made fun of Nehemiah and the Jews. “What are these feeble Jews doing?” said Sanballat. (“Feeble” means “weak.”) “If even a fox stood on their wall it would break and fall down,” said Tobiah.

What do you think Nehemiah did when his enemies made fun of the Jews and their wall? (Accommodate answers.)

Nehemiah took his problems to God. He prayed, “Hear us, O God. They hate us.” Then he and the Jews continued building the wall. Soon the wall was halfway done.

Sanballat, Tobiah, and the other enemies were angry. So they made plans to attack Jerusalem.

What do you think Nehemiah did then? (Accommodate answers.) That’s right, he and the builders prayed. The Jews also began to carry swords and other weapons while they worked so they could protect themselves from their enemies. Some worked on the wall with one hand and held a weapon in the other. A trumpet player stood next to Nehemiah. He planned to call the workers together if the time came when they needed to fight the enemies.

Next Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to Nehemiah asking him to come to a meeting. Nehemiah knew they planned to hurt him, so he replied, “I am doing a great work. I can’t come. I don’t want the work to stop while I come to meet you.”

Sanballat was not ready to give up. He sent another letter saying he knew that Nehemiah planned to rebel against the king of Persia and set up a kingdom of his own.

Nehemiah replied, “That’s not true. You are making things up in your own mind.”

The enemies tried different ways to frighten the Jews. They thought the Jews would be too weak to work if they were scared. Nehemiah prayed, “God help me be strong.”

The people worked so hard that they finished the wall in 52 days, a short time to build a big wall. Everyone knew that the wall could not have been built so quickly unless God had helped the Jews.

Discussion Options

  • How did Nehemiah persevere? (Accommodate answers.)
  • What were some of the ways Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop him from building the wall around Jerusalem? (Possible answers: They laughed at him, made fun of him, and made plans to attack the city. They tried to get him to leave his work and meet with them, and they made up a lie about him.)
  • Do you know anyone who has been treated badly for doing a good thing? Has anyone ever laughed at you or made fun of you when you were doing right?

Map Activity and Introduction to Colombia
Point out Colombia on a map or globe. Ask for a volunteer to show where the United States is located in relation to Colombia.

Explain: The United States is in North America, and Colombia is in South America. Most of the people in North America speak English.

Ask: Do you know what language most of the people in South America speak? (Spanish) Do you know any words in Spanish. (Accommodate answers.)

Story: The Boldest Evangelist
Explain: An obstacle is something that gets in the way of somebody who is trying to do something, or it stops them or slows them down. Ask the children to name some obstacles Nehemiah faced.

To Do: Divide the children into two groups. Ask one group to quietly raise their hands then lower them when they hear about an obstacle in the story. Ask the other group to raise and lower their hands when they hear an example of perseverance. Acknowledge their hand raising when it is appropriate, and mention the obstacle or example of perseverance that they are recognizing.


Ten-year-old Adriana did not know Jesus. One day, a pastor came to her house in Colombia. The pastor asked to talk to Adriana’s family about Jesus.

Adriana’s parents said, “No!” But Adriana wanted to hear what the pastor had to say. She talked her parents into letting him speak. She even went to nearby houses and gathered 10 of her friends to come to her home and listen!

The children sat at the pastor’s feet as he shared with them about how Jesus saves people from sin. All the children gave their lives to the Lord that day!

The pastor started a church with the children as members. But the church did not have a building. They met in a house, and the house was a 45-minute walk away from Adriana’s house. Adriana was happy to go to the church, even though she had to walk so far.

Sometimes guerrillas came to the area where Adriana lived. It is not always safe to proclaim the name of Jesus in places where guerrillas visit.

But when Adriana was 12, she wanted more children to know about God’s love for them. However, she sometimes had to babysit her younger brother and sister. Once a week, Adriana walked to villages more than an hour away from her house. Sometimes she took her little brother and sister along with her!

Adriana went from door to door in the villages. If she saw children at a house, she told them about Jesus and invited them to church. The pastor of the church said, “Adriana is my boldest evangelist!” An evangelist is someone who spreads the gospel of Jesus.

Adriana paid a price for her faithfulness to Jesus. The kids at school made fun of her, picked on her, and called her names because she shared her faith. What do you think Adriana did when the children gave her a hard time? She told them about Jesus!

Discussion Options

  • What are some of the obstacles Adriana faced? How did she persevere when she had obstacles?
  • Have you ever been made fun of for something? How did it feel? Have you ever made fun of someone or picked on them? Is picking on someone ever a good thing to do? What if the person you’re picking on behaves badly? Is it okay to make fun of them? What might be a better thing to do? What did Adriana do when people made fun of her?

Closing Remarks
Encourage the children to notice this week when obstacles get in the way of something they or others are trying to do. Tell them to remember what Nehemiah did when he faced obstacles to his work. (He prayed and asked God to help him.) Ask them to be ready to share what happened during the next lesson.

Closing Prayer Suggestion
Thank you, God, for Christians who persevere in following you even when obstacles are in the way. Please bless the work of Christians who use creative ways to get the truth to people in hard-to-reach places. Help us to persevere when we have problems and obstacles. In Jesus name, Amen.

Optional Ideas
Use one or more of the suggestions below at any time during the lesson.

  1. Sing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish
    Teach the children to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish.Jesus Loves Me
    The first line in each group below shows the words in Spanish. The second line tells how to pronounce them. The third tells exactly what the words mean in English.

    Cristo me ama, bien lo sé
    KREES-toh may AH-mah, bee-EHN loh say
    Jesus loves me, I know it well.

    Su palabra me hace ver
    Soo puh-LAH-bruh may AH-say vayr
    His word makes me see

    Que los niños son de Aquél
    Kay lohs NEE-nyohs sohn day ah-KEHL
    That children are of him,

    Quien es nuestro amigo fiel
    Kee-EHN ehs noo-AYS-troh ah-MEE-goh fee-EHL.
    Who is our faithful friend.

    Si, Cristo me ama
    See KREES-toh may AH-mah
    Yes, Jesus loves me,

    Si, Cristo me ama
    See KREES-toh may AH-mah
    Yes, Jesus loves me,
    Si, Cristo me ama
    See KREES-toh may AH-mah
    Yes, Jesus loves me,

    La Biblia dice así
    Lah BEE-blee-uh DEE-say ah-SEE
    The Bible says it is so.

  2. Make Maracas


    Background: Maracas, tambourines, and other instruments are often used to accompany the singing in Colombian churches.


    • Choose one of the following for the body of the maracas: a baking powder can, a vitamin or pill bottle, two egg carton divisions with the large open ends taped together, a small cereal box, or another small container.
    • Choose one of these for the handle: a colorful pencil; a popsicle stick or craft stick; a dowel; a toilet tissue roll cut lengthwise, rolled tightly, and taped together; or another long, thin object.
    • Choose from the following materials to fill the maracas: uncooked rice, beans, or popcorn; bells, beads, or pebbles.
    • Choose one of the following materials to decorate the maracas: paper mache and paint, fabric, gift wrap, colored vinyl tape, or other colorful material.
    • Modeling clay or putty.

    Before sealing the container or putting the top on, fill it one-third full with the materials chosen. To attach the handle, put a small amount of modeling clay or putty on one end of the handle and stick the handle to the inside bottom of the container. Cut a slit in the top of the container and put the other end of the handle through the slit. Replace the top and tape it shut before decorating the maracas.

    Tape the handle to the body if the container’s top is difficult to slit or the handle is too big.
    Fill a plastic Easter egg one-third full with materials chosen, tape it shut, then tightly tape one end of it to the top end of a toilet tissue roll.

    The children may want to shake the maracas while singing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish. (Song instructions above.)

  3. Colombian Recipes
    Prepare one or more of the recipes below in advance. The children may want to eat a Colombian food while listening to the story of how God provided food for Talia and her family in the refugee camp.Arepas
    Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of white corn meal. Add 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of salt. With your hands, form thin, flat tortillas about 3 inches wide. Cook on a lightly buttered grill or in a frying pan over medium high heat until golden brown Serve hot, topped with shredded cheese, butter, jam, meat, or other toppings.

    Plaintain Chips
    Peel some green plantains, and cut them into slices. Fry them in hot vegetable oil in a frying pan until crisp. Place them on paper towels on a plate to absorb the oil. Add salt to taste.

    Sorbete de Naranja
    In a blender, combine 1 pint of milk, 1 pint of orange juice, 1 cup of water, and ½ cup of sugar. Mix and drink.

    Salpi con Frutas, Fruit Salad
    Mix the following: 1 large mango, peeled and diced; 1 papaya, peeled and cubed; 2 sliced bananas; 1 cup of cubed watermelon; 2 cubed oranges; ¼ cup of raisins (optional); ½ cup of sugar (optional); and ½ cup of diced pineapple (optional). Serve in bowls, and top with strawberries and sweetened condensed milk of desired.

    Coconut is a common ingredient in Colombian food. Teach the children this Spanish tongue twister.

    Como como poco coco, poco coco compro.
    The tongue twister means, “Because I eat little coconut, I buy little coconut.”
    Note: All the o’s and c’s are pronounced like the o’s and c’s in the English word “cocoa.” Cocoa comes from Colombia, too.

  4. Tingo, Tingo, Tango: A Colombian Game
    Players stand in a circle. One player is “It.” The player who is It hides his or her eyes while standing some distance from the circle and repeats, “Tingo, tingo, tingo, tingo.” As It continues to say, “Tingo,” the other children pass a small object around the circle from hand to hand.The player who is It switches and calls out, “Tango!” The player caught with the object in hand has to pay a penalty. The player holding the object must perform a task suggested by It. For example, he or she might be asked to sing a song, crow like a rooster, recite a Bible verse, or hop around the circle on one foot. The player who paid the penalty becomes It for the next game.


    • Pray poor children in Colombia will have food and places to live.
    • Ask God to protect missionaries who take the gospel to guerrillas.
    • Thank God that churches in Colombia are growing!
    • Ask God to comfort Colombian children who are scared of dangers.

For additional information about Colombia, see Bold Believers in Colombia in the Downloads section.