Amarillo teacher develops evangelistic tool from Brazilian interpreter”s illustrations for kids

AMARILLO—Just out of high school, Melissa Alachev tagged along with Mary Lain to visit the kindergarteners Lain taught in an Amarillo school. The young Brazilian woman had served as a Portuguese interpreter for Lain’s husband when he traveled to her country on mission trips.

“She was so in love with Jesus and radiated that love to everyone who came in touch with her,” Lain recalled. “She wanted to find a way to share the love of Jesus with my students.”

Lain knew that presented a challenge, telling her guest that the children had to initiate the conversation.

Melissa imagined the varied shapes and sizes of people all over the world and set about drawing caricatures on an over-sized tablet with the markers Lain provided. “We started to think of ideas for using the pictures to tell the story of how people come from all different countries and they’re all special to God.”

The students responded with laughter at the exaggerated features—from the girl with the nose extending across two pages to the boy with the ears nearly the size of his head.

“The students loved the book,” Lain said, explaining how it prompted questions from the students and became a tool for Melissa to share that God’s love extended to everyone regardless of the person’s size or shape.

Lain carried the tablet with her on her first mission trip along the Amazon River, developing the story to establish God’s love for every person before explaining the one thing that he hates is sin. The story easily translated so that she could share the gospel with children and adults.

“Before I knew I knew it, people were coming up and asking to copy it to take on other mission trips,” she added. Her husband had begun using it while teaching in Canada. A mission team from their church, Paramount Baptist, took the tablet to Russia and on additional trips to Brazil.

“The reader and listener hear these words and realize the plain and simple truth that God loves them no matter what,” Lain shared. The repetition of that phrase has helped those who are learning English as a second language as well as young children reading the words for themselves, she said.

Ten years after the original illustrations were drawn and shared with a group of kindergarten children, Lain’s storyline has been added to create a picture book that can be used in a variety of settings with translations in Spanish and Portuguese.

“It’s amazing to me how God can take a relationship between two people to come up with a few simple ideas and use it as an evangelism tool,” Lain said.

Copies of the book are available by calling 806-355-3396 or by ordering online at paramount.org/people-matter-ministries where Lain can be seen reading the book.

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