Seventy kids, and a large number of our parish, have been showing up this week. It’s been fun, a little wild, and every day has been a blessing. Here are a few snapshots from the week.
From Bishop Carl:
VBS impacts the spirit and soul.
First of all it’s the interaction of the people, kids and adults smiling, laughing, serving, focusing on our Lord together. I love being with the staff as well as the children. It is refreshment at its best and more.
The soul gets nourished. A friend of mine used to teach that when we taught, the first thing forgotten was the content. The second thing forgotten was the style, how you taught what you taught. And the thing remembered longest was the attitude with which we taught. Our attitude nourishes the soul.
We also can bless the spirit of those present. We can awaken a thirst. A parishioner sent me the following, borrowing from Max Lucado.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
The phrase “train up” descends from a root word that means to develop a thirst. Hebrew midwives awakened the thirst of a newborn by dipping a finger in a bowl of crushed dates and placing it in the baby’s mouth. To “train up,” then, means to awaken thirst.
Parents and teachers can awaken thirst “in the way [the child] should go.”
What an awesome gift it is! This is a work of the Spirit to the spirit.
I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed working VBS, especially with Caroline & Soleil. It is such a joy (& I don’t use that term lightly-few things give me joy) to be around young, lively people. It is wonderful to be around these wonderful creations of our Lord.
This is my second year as a teacher at VBS. Watching the children truly grasp these stories, and hearing their excitement, just reinforces the joy of our Lord everyday for me! I felt like the stories truly came alive for the kids in our class (and we had 14 kids!) and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does for these children in the coming year.
This is my fourth year at VBS and my third year working in the crafts area. When the kids enter my class they have already heard the Bible story from their teachers, and perhaps seen it reinforced in the other special areas like skits and snack. This year the kids are internalizing the stories in a way I’ve never seen in years past (the pre-K group told me all about leprosy!). They are so excited to tell me everything they are learning from the Bible. I am hearing from parents again and again what a wonderful time their kids are having. I know they are going home and sharing the Bible stories with their families. What a beautiful thing for the knowledge and love of Jesus to spread from our volunteers to the children and then to their families and beyond. More than ever God is giving me a glimpse of the eternal significance of VBS!
To close, our fearless leader, Jane says:
“You can fear (or in my case, stress-out), or trust God. But, you can not do both at the same time.” I heard this statement on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and I needed that word! At that time, Chris Reilly and I were still trying to secure volunteers to lead VBS classes and children were being placed on a wait list since classes had filled up quickly. Once I trusted instead of stressed, God (as He does year after year) provided wonderful volunteers. All have been AMAZING. Our community is so blessed by their dedication to our children.
One of the aspects that I enjoy most about VBS is the opportunity for diverse people to serve/attend and remain engaged. Volunteers are already signing up for next year. Many of them are the young people who have attended VBS. How awesome is that? They have been learning about God’s love and now they plan to share it, although I doubt they will wait until next year to do so!
I can honestly say that the week of VBS is one my favorite weeks of the year. Every year it is a week of joy, love and encouragement. The joy is seen on every face of a child. The love shines through our volunteers. All who come (children and parents) are encouraged to seek, meet and accept the Lord. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20.
Please come Sunday to celebrate with us. We will have more stories and songs from our week of adventure!