Monday, 27 July 2015

Guardians Of Ancora: Review

Premier Childrens Work magazine this month had an interesting article on a new game launched by Scripture Union.  It's called Guardians Of Ancora and is aimed at 8-11 yr olds, I thought it looked pretty cool but being in the wrong demographic I encouraged my 11 yr old daughter to download it onto her tablet and let me know what she thought.

Although we are a church going family and she attends Sunday School, she is not, how can I put this, a keen Biblical scholar.  There was an embarrassing episode a while back in church where she volunteered to go to the front and take part in a quiz, it became awkward when the quiz master started to get the congregation to shout up the answers to her while I slowly sunk down in my chair amazed at just how little she was able to to answer!  It was all taken in good humour though and a few heckles were thrown about how the Sunday School teachers were obviously not doing their job.

But there the point was perhaps made that if church going kids aren't taking in Bible stories, how on earth do we expect non-churched kids to have a clue who David was and why his story is important today?
And this is where Scripture Union did their research and hit upon designing a game that can be downloaded for free onto a tablet, to engage children from all walks of life and bring the Bible alive, whether they're church attendees or not, and Guardians of Ancora was the result.

I had actually forgotten I'd suggested it to my daughter and I honestly thought she'd be put off by it being Bible based, but after about a week she came up to me and said "that game you told me to download, it's actually pretty good!"  She even told me that she didn't know the story of Jesus filling Andrew and Peter's nets with fish and now she did! 

I mean, come on! Eleven years of Sunday School and they haven't covered that story?! Nearer to the truth it's probable they've told that story dozens of times but she just hadn't taken it in, we certainly are living in an era where children engage with the world differently, we are the immigrants and they are the natives of this digital age!

The game is in its infancy so could do with a few glitches tweaking, occasionally your character can get 'stuck' in the graphics and you have to exit and start again, and I personally found it almost impossible to get the timing of the characters jumps right, meaning it got very frustrating and repetitive, the advantage being you don't lose lives, so the jumps could be attempted until you crossed the gap or threw the tablet in frustration, whichever came soonest; but as my daughter pointed out, I struggled to play it because I'm not 11!

Having said that, the graphics are great, the story's easy to follow and there are lots of extras like quizzes, missions, audio stories and places for you to make your own notes and drawings which can be shared with other players or kept private.

Also at the moment there are only 2 playable quests, which she has now completed, hopefully the others will be unlocked soon or the game may lose momentum for its early players.

I think my daughter is looking forward to the next quest. (And I must admit, I am a little bit too!) 

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Prayer Course: Review

Pete Greig says in the opening session of The Prayer Course that after the six weeks we will be "better at hearing Gods voice, experiencing more of his prescence, have processed our dissapointments and struggles with prayer and will possibly even be witnessing more miracles having unlocked the power of prayer!"

Johnny Hughes responds with "I'm in!" and that was how I felt too!  Which Christian amongst us wouldn't want that?  Although I was uncertain it would 'work' for me so to speak.

Along with so many other Christians I have found prayer so difficult, sometimes boring and
even pointless; I have gone through phases of praying for everything to refusing to pray for anything, but I knew I had to get this prayer part of my life in some sort of order so I suggested to our home group that we followed The Prayer Course.

Taking the process of prayer step by step following the Lord's prayer as a guideline, it was an interesting, thought provoking and sometimes heart wrenching journey through adoration, petition, intercession, perseverence, listening and warfare.

I can honestly say that having completed the course about a month ago now and taken the time to let what I learned settle, I have had answeres to prayers that have been ongoing for many years, been able to sense Gods leading and presence in guiding me through some big life decisions I have been working with over the last year, and I have seen a miracle in our financial circumstances in that the life change I am undertaking means giving up my job and being funded by the government, the grant offer is the same amount as my wages!

I feel a lot more in touch with my prayer life now, there is more meaning and understanding behind it, I'm not just randomly waffling away to the thin air (well I kind of am, but I fully believe there's more than just thin air there!)

If you are part of a small group I would recommend it as a course to follow but I'm certain even as an individual you would get something out of watching the short video clips! 

Try it and let me know how you get on!