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Egypt Lesson Plan: Continuing to Do Good

Objectives
Children will be reminded that followers of Jesus continue to do good even when they don’t seem to be rewarded right away.

Introduction (Secret Rules)
Explain: In other countries, manners and customs may be different from ours. For example, people in some countries shake hands when they greet, but they may bow in other countries. Some sleep and eat on the floor, and others use chairs and beds. But these rules are not posted on signs like traffic rules. We don’t have signs that say, “Please shake hands when you greet someone. (If desired, discuss other unwritten customs and rules, or make signs with unwritten rules on them.) Missionaries to other countries may have difficulty learning the unwritten rules of people around them.

Instructions: Divide students into two groups. Have the groups meet separately where they can’t hear each other while discussing their strategy. Ask each group to make up a very simple secret rule to use while listening to the Bible story. It must be a rule that can be followed silently and not disrupt the story. (Examples you may want to share with the groups separately if they can’t think of a rule: Everyone must sit with their right foot crossed over their left. Or girls must look down while boys can raise their eyes and look at the teacher.)

Let the groups follow their rule during the reading of the Verse to Remember and the story. Tell them they can guess the other team’s rule during discussion time after the story.

Verse to Remember
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

Bible Story (Exodus 1)
Moses: The Baby in the River
The people of Israel didn’t have enough food. They were very hungry and they needed help. They went to Egypt because they heard food was plentiful in that country. The Book of Genesis tells the story of their trip to Egypt.

The people of Israel, also called Hebrews, decided to stay in Egypt. At first the leaders of Egypt were kind to the Hebrews. But when the number of Hebrews grew, the Egyptians began to fear them. So they made the Hebrews work very hard. The Hebrews were forced to build cities and buildings for the Egyptians. The evil king even gave an order that all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the river.

After the king gave his order, a Hebrew woman had a beautiful baby boy. She hid him for three months to keep him from being thrown into the river. Then she made him a small basket. She put her baby in the basket and set it by the river. The king’s daughter found the basket, and when she heard the baby crying, she felt sorry for the child.

The baby’s sister, Miriam, was standing nearby to see what would happen. She asked the princess, “Would you like me to find a Hebrew woman to take care of the child for you?”

“Go,” said the king’s daughter.

So Miriam got her own mother to take care of her little brother, and the princess even agreed to pay her! When the boy was old enough, his mother returned him to the princess to be brought up in the king’s palace. The princess named the boy Moses.

When Moses grew up, he obeyed God’s command to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt.

Discussion Options

  • [Discuss the “secret rules” the groups followed during the story.]
  • Moses’ mother hid her baby even though the evil king said she should not. She continued to do good even when it was hard. Can you think of people today who continue to do good even when it is difficult? (Someone who stands up for a friend when bullies are bothering them. Students in school who don’t join in when others are complaining about parents or teachers.)
  • What is one way you can continue to do good even when it’s difficult?

Concepts to Introduce
“Doing good” will not get us into heaven. We are saved only by the grace of God through faith in his Son, Jesus. But the Bible tells us about many times when Jesus commanded his followers to do good and love others. Persecuted Christians who continue to do good when it is difficult often say that they experience great joy in the middle of their struggles.

Introduction to Egypt
Islam, the religion of Muslims, is the official religion of Egypt. Most of the citizens are Muslims. Christianity is allowed, but sometimes Christians have a hard time practicing their faith. Christians may be unfairly treated by teachers, police officers, and bosses. Some Christians are afraid to stand up to Muslims, because Christians are in the minority. (Discuss the meaning of “minority.”) Muslims who leave their religion to follow Jesus may no longer be welcome in their own families.

Map Activity
(Show Egypt on a world map.) Ask if anyone can point to Upper Egypt, then Lower Egypt. Explain that usually the top of something is the upper part and the bottom is its lower part. But Egypt is different!

The Nile River is the longest river in Egypt. More than 4,000 miles long, it is also the longest river in the world. Upper Egypt and the upper Nile are in the south of Egypt. Lower Egypt and the lower Nile are in the north.

Current Story: Anna
Anna, a girl in Egypt, came from a Christian family. Her parents taught her about Jesus, but Anna did not know Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

Sometimes Anna felt scared of Muslims. She was afraid Muslims might make life hard for her family if she did something to offend them.

Anna visited a Christian girls’ youth group. She learned that some of the girls had been persecuted for their belief in Jesus. The girls helped each other to be bold in their faith. Older girls in the group talked to visitors and younger girls. Anna listened, and decided to give her life to Christ!

Anna was different after she began to follow Christ. She was not afraid of Muslims anymore. Her fellowship with the other Christian girls also gave her courage.

Neema was a Muslim girl who lived near Anna. She noticed the change in Anna, and she was amazed. Anna treated people kindly, and she stood up to Muslims without being scared or rude. Neema asked Anna what made her so different. Anna could have been scared to talk to Neema. Neema’s brother was a very strict Muslim. He could even hurt Anna and Neema if he knew they were talking about Jesus.

But Anna continued to do good. She told Neema that she, too, could have a new life in Christ. After a while, Neema understood that Jesus loved her and died for her sins. Neema became a Christian, and she and Anna continued to learn about Jesus together. They prayed that Neema’s relatives would also learn the truth.

Middle-of-the-Story Activity: Tell the students you are going to give them a quiz to see how well they remember the story so far. Ask them to keep their quizzes face down until you say, “Begin.” Pass out quizzes to each student that say:

  1. What was the name of the main girl in the story?
  2. Where did she live?
  3. Who was the girl afraid of?

Pass out pencils to half the group As soon as you say, “Begin,” immediately remove the tests from the students without pencils, saying, “ That’s all our time.” Let the other students finish their quizzes. Compliment the students who finished their quizzes for doing well. Then explain that Christian students are sometimes treated like the students who got no pencils, and ask them to listen to the rest of the story to learn more.

More of the Story
Anna and her youth group had other challenges to their faith. The encouraged each other to do well in school, but it’s often hard for Christian kids in Egypt to get good grades.

“The teachers are Muslims,” said a youth group leader. “When the Christians take a test, the teachers take away their test papers before they are finished. They don’t want the Christian kids to get better grades than the Muslims.”

The Christians were not surprised. They understood that it’s not always easy to be a Christian. They trusted God and continued to do their best.

Discussion Options

  • For the students who had no pencils: How did it feel to be treated so unfairly?
  • The Christian students continued to do good after the teacher treated them badly. What do you think the Muslim teachers and students thought of the Christians when they did not get angry?
  • What did Neema see in Anna that made her want to know more about her?
  • What would you answer if someone asked you how to have new life in Christ?

Closing Remarks
Encourage the children to continue to do good this week, even when it’s difficult. Discuss some ways they might do so. Could they do something cheerfully that they usually complain about? Might they volunteer to do someone else’s chores? Can they thank their parents for a good meal even when their favorite food is not served?

Closing Prayer
Dear God, thank you that you are always with us and with the Christians in Egypt. Help us and them to continue to be faithful to you even when it is not easy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

  1. Pyramid Relay
    Needed: Items to form two pyramids, with a Christian word, symbol, or Bible verse reference taped on each item (suggested items: blocks, food cans, books, or small boxes). The larger the items, the fewer will be needed.

    Background: More than 80 large stone pyramids still stand in Egypt. They were built hundreds of years before Christ was born. Ancient Egyptian rulers had false ideas about life after death. They believed they could take possessions with them when they died. So they filled the pyramids with fine possessions that they could enjoy later.

    The three pyramids of Giza are the largest. The largest of the three is the pyramid of Cheops (or Khufu), also called the Great Pyramid. It is said that the stones from the Great Pyramid could form a 10-foot high wall stretching all the way from New York to California.

    Instructions: Divide students into two teams with an equal number of players. Make starting and finish lines several yards apart. Stack an equal number of items of equal size beside the starting line of each team.

    Inform students that the pyramids were built by people with false beliefs, but that they will be building a Christian structure. Tell players how many items are needed to form the base of their pyramid, and that each row should contain one fewer item than the row below it, with one item on top. Using relay rules, have one player from each team take one item and lay it down past the finish line.

    Players on each team continue to take items one at a time, placing them in a straight line, until the base is formed. Then they continue taking turns until the next row, with one fewer item, is placed on top of the base. If the items fall, a player must restack them before leaving an item. The first team to build a pyramid wins.

  2. Coptic Cross
    Background: Today many countries have their own branch of the Orthodox church. For example, there is a Russian Orthodox church, a Romanian Orthodox church, etc. The Orthodox church in Egypt is called the Coptic church. A “Copt” is a member of the Egyptian Orthodox church. Egypt also has Protestant and Catholic churches. But most of the Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox.

    Christian missionaries have worked in Egypt to spread the gospel. The missionaries report that many Orthodox Copts think they are going to heaven just because they were born Copts. But other Copts are studying the Bible. They are learning that salvation is only through faith in Jesus.

    Some Muslims in Egypt want to make life difficult for all people who are called “Christian.” The Muslims do not care whether the people understand the Bible or not.

    Needed: Paper, old CDs or DVDs, scissors, pencils, colored paper or poster board, Coptic Cross pattern

  1. Egyptian Snacks: Pita Chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut one package of pita bread into triangles, and place them on a cookie sheet. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray. Mix ½ tsp. garlic powder with 4 tbsp. parmesan cheese and sprinkle lightly over the pita triangles. Bake until crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.

  2. Make Mummies

    Mummy

    Needed: oven-bake clay, washable acrylic paints (white or off-white, and other colors), paint brushes, very thin brush (such as a liquid eyeliner brush)

    Egyptian rulers had their bodies preserved as mummies. Their false religion taught them that preserving their bodies would help their soul survive properly.

    To make a “mummy,” follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the clay. Create the body (including the legs), arms, head, and head covering separately out of clay. The back of the mummy can be flat. Connect the arms, head, and head covering to the body. Smooth the clay together where the parts connect. Cross the arms over the chest. Bake and let cool. Paint the top of the mummy with white or off-white washable acrylic paint. Use two coats and let the paint dry between coats. Use additional colors to decorate the mummy. A very thin brush will be helpful in painting any lines.

  3. Make a Sheet of Papyrus
    Students in Egypt today use computers, paper, and pencils just like other students around the world. But ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus, which is somewhat like paper. Papyrus is made from strips cut from the stalk of the papyrus plant. The strips are pounded, soaked in water, overlapped, pressed, and dried.

    Follow the instructions below to make some papyrus in advance to share with the class, or start the process in one class and bring the results to a subsequent class.

    Needed: Two cucumbers, microwave oven, cutting board, rolling pin, towels or cloths, a stack of heavy books, pencil

    • Peel two cucumbers and slice them in thin strips lengthwise.
    • Microwave the slices for about five minutes on until soft, flipping them over once.
    • On a board, gently pound the slices with a rolling pin to flatten them. (The seeds will come out if they are pounded too vigorously.)
    • Place half the slices side by side vertically, with the edges overlapping, on kitchen towels or other absorbent cloths. Lay the remaining slices side by side horizontally on top of the vertical slices, overlapping the edges, and forming a crisscross pattern with the vertical slices.
    • Cover with a cloth and stack heavy books on top to make a press. If you want to protect the books from getting too wet, add more cloths or put pieces of cardboard between the cloth and the books.
    • At first, change the cloths often as they become soaked. To change the cloths, gently remove the top cloth. Then lay down a fresh, dry cloth beside the papyrus. Flip the papyrus and bottom cloth upside down onto the fresh cloth so that the cloth that was on the bottom is now on top. Replace it with a dry cloth. Put the heavy books back on top.
    • After a while, the cloths will not have to be changed as often. The papyrus may be dry and ready to use in 30 to 36 hours.
    • Gently write a Bible verse on the papyrus with a pencil.

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