Missionary, 70, shows no sign of slowing down
By Amy Robertson
Marion Jean Grant with her quilt of pictographs.
Since graduating from Briercrest College and Seminary (then Briercrest Bible Institute) with a diploma in 1966, Marion Jean Grant has travelled across North America and to the Philippines, South Africa, and Pakistan.
Why? To teach the Bible to women and children—and she shows no signs of stopping.
She's 70 years old.
“I don’t really think of it as a job,” she says.
Grant teaches with Bible Centered Ministries International. For the last two years, she has been travelling world-wide using translators to teach teachers how to use the Chronological Bible Storying Method with children.
It’s a tool for teaching the Bible chronologically, one story at a time. It relies on pictographs rather than words, which allows the Bible stories to cross linguistic and cultural borders. That is, students don’t need to be able to read or write to learn them.
Teachers use a large fabric panel made up of 60 squares. Each square shows a different pictograph, which depicts a specific biblical idea, event, or story. Three interlocked rings, for example, represent the three persons of God. Two hands holding a small globe represent the creation story, and a smiling lion represents the story of Daniel.
Young children start with the basics and fill in the gaps as they get older. The 60 squares are divided into five columns of 12, and each column, meant for a different age group, begins with the Bible as a gift from God and ends with the coming of Christ.
The idea, Grant explains, is to help children understand who God is by presenting His story as a whole. Many other evangelical methods share the Gospel by beginning with sin. But in Grant’s experience, beginning with creation is more effective.
By the time they reach the age of 13, the children will have learned 60 Bible stories—and learned to pass them on to their friends.
Grant, who was involved in writing the Bible stories and in the initial teacher training, is passionate about her work. “There is nothing more exciting than helping people learn to teach children,” she says. “In North America, most people come to know Jesus Christ between the ages of 4 and 14 ... I want to be a part of that.”
Grant raises her own financial support, and her work is often far from easy. She leans on God daily for strength and provision. “My name means to stand fast,” she says. “That is what I want to do—stand fast in what [God] has given me to do.”
“We’re called—duty-bound to equip people.”