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Andalusia Baptist makes scale model of ark for Sunday Schoolcomment (0)

August 28, 2008

By Bethany Akridge

What can you do with 2,920 Popsicle sticks?

Jake Perry can make Bible stories come alive for the fifth- and sixth-graders at Zion Hill Baptist Church, Andalusia, in Covington Baptist Association.

Perry, a carpenter by trade, used his skills to make a scale model of Noah’s ark out of Popsicle sticks, wooden dowels and toothpicks. Based on biblical measurements, each foot of the model ark represents 75 feet of the real, full-sized Noah’s ark. The model’s finished size measures 6 feet 3 inches long, a foot and a half wide and 8 inches high, and it is complete with floors, staircases, cages for the animals and even a tiny clay oven.

“It’s one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen,” said Pastor Roger Lee. “He wanted to help his Sunday School class visualize and truly understand what the Bible says. It’s amazing and proved to be a good teaching tool.”

The idea for the project was sparked when Perry observed that his students viewed Sunday School lessons much like homework. They needed something to kindle their interest. 

Research and construction of the ark took two and a half months of late nights and much patience. He built the four floors from the bottom up and even designed two removable sections so his students could peer inside.

Perry also made a mountain as a stand for the ark.

Perry made a tiny clay Noah to illustrate the ark’s true size and what a tremendous task building it must have been.

His students tried their hand at sculpting and painting clay animals. Perry also took his class into the new family life center under construction at Zion Hill Baptist to describe how big the ark would have been on the inside.

As the students became more involved, they began asking questions and soaking in the story.

“I thought how much he did on it was amazing,” said Amber McGinnis, a member of Perry’s Sunday School class, who contributed a clay pig and dove to the project. She said the most memorable part of the Bible story is how everyone picked on Noah because it had never rained.

When the ark was unveiled in April, the results enlightened more than just those in Perry’s Sunday School class. His wife, Brenda, said several people visited the church just to see the ark.

Lee used the model as a visual aid for a sermon comparing the Old Testament ark to the New Testament ark of salvation, Jesus Christ.

“I’ve read the story of Noah’s ark, but to look at it makes it more real,” Brenda Perry said. “It amazes me to think how long it would take to walk from one end to the other. The kids were excited about it, but it’s helped a lot of adults, too.”

Jake Perry traces his inspiration to build an ark back to his childhood experiences in Vacation Bible School and the Holy Spirit’s leading.

“I hope to plant seeds with kids that will be with them forever,” he said. “Maybe those seeds will grow and will have an impact on them later in life.

“I encourage other Sunday School teachers to come up with their own ideas to get kids interested in the Bible.”

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