In the Domincan Republic we have been working with a Christian education program called AMO (Apacienta Mis Ovejas). Dr. Elizabeth Youmans of Chrysalis International wrote the AMO curriculum along with the teacher training manual; you can read more about Dr. Youmans here. AMO is more than just a Christian curriculum; it offers educators a way to expand the Christian worldview of students and educators. In my next several blog posts I will analyze AMO in more depth and explain why AMO is an excellent tool for Christian transformation in the schools we work with.
During the weeklong teacher training (imparted to teachers before teaching the material), AMO stresses the importance of Establishing A Christian Foundation. AMO teaches that Christian transformation must begin within our mind and spirit and then extend out. This is pulled from Paul’s teaching, “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2). As our mind is renewed and we begin to see and understand the world in a different way, with Christ as the focus of everything, we are transformed as individuals. Then we are able to impact our family, which impacts the church, which impacts our institutions, and then society and culture at large, which is the essence of a nation.
Therefore education, when aimed at renewing the mind, can play a significant role in forming the spirit and character of a nation. Accordingly, when Jesus instructs us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) we see that we can begin with education. Education, which as the core of every society, has the power to transform. If education is rooted in the truth of the gospel it becomes a powerful way to bring about transformation. It is important to remember this idea of inside-out transformation which is why the focus of AMO is to first witness transformation in the hearts and minds of teachers, then in students.
A critical component in developing a Christian foundation for education is acknowledging our creation by and for God. AMO teaches the importance of remembering and teaching Old Testament history in order to recognize God’s active role throughout the history of Israel, which also reminds us of his role today in our lives. Throughout the history of Israel we are able to learn from the success and failure of God’s chosen people. The wall of Israel, for example, protected the nation, and when the wall was torn down (a major setback for the nation) Israel had to rebuild it. Today we can say that we have the same opportunity, to build up the “wall” that is education. Education is the greatest protection a nation can have. As we establish a Christian foundation in our lives as individuals, and then in the education of our nations, starting from within and then spreading out, we will be taking the first steps forward in following the great commission given to us, to “go and make disciples of all nations”.
As organizations both AMO and Edify are committed to this principle. We are encouraged and energized by the work of God in our lives, and hope to see education in the DR improve, slowly but surely. Teachers are learning these ideas in the AMO trainings, and we are here to support them in their journey as they then go on to implement the program in their schools. We are committed to long-term impact rather than quick-fix solutions.
Next month I will continue writing more about AMO and the impact it is having in Christian education in the DR.