Last week marked one of the most amazing weeks of my life. The occasion was Vacation Bible School at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. It’s incredible to think that only a year ago I arrived in Leavenworth and had never even heard of VBS. I recall walking into the sanctuary for the first time and seeing the decorations. And then I was enthralled with the voices of the children as they were the praise team that morning. I knew that I had experienced something really awesome, and that I wanted to find out more about VBS and the church’s role in the community.
Becky Goodman is the pastor for children and families, and we soon became good friends. This dynamic lady hales from Indiana and is a treasure in the ministry of the church. Her passion and drive are amazing. I am always in awe of how she remains so calm, collected and cool no matter how gargantuan the challenges may be.
I first got my toes wet when I helped at Light the Night last fall. I was back in Mexico for the winter when Becky asked me if I’d be interested in volunteering for VBS (Vacation Bible School). I was definitely interested. I told her that I was flexible and to put me where she needed me, as I was totally unfamiliar with VBS and what was entailed in planning the program.
Becky decided that co-director of the preschool/kindergarten program would be a good place. When I arrived back in Leavenworth in May, I soon found myself engrossed in planning meetings. I met Heather, the other co-director, and we were soon busy organizing and purchasing supplies, as well as decorating and setting up classrooms for activities.
The statistics are impressive. There were 204 children registered and 134 volunteers involved. The children were divided into groups of five, each with a crew leader to assist them in the activities. Each station had two rotation leaders. Other volunteers were in registration, in the kitchen, doing security, assisting with light and sound, as well as setting up and taking down of decorations.
The mission project for the week was raising funds for a concrete floor to replace the existing dirt floor in a home serving as an orphanage in The Democratic Republic Of The Congo. Earlier that month, the missionaries themselves had visited our church and told us about their experiences working with the African people, describing in detail the poverty and the decrepit conditions in which they lived. The goal was to raise $1600. The generosity of the community was overwhelming, and the total amount raised was a staggering $5222.50. Not only will there be a concrete floor, but there will also be a ceiling and beds for the children.
The theme of VBS was Maker Fun Factory. A typical day at VBS began with an opening program in the sanctuary. The children were introduced to a Bible Point and a Bible Buddy. A skit was presented by two teenagers. The 29 children in the praise team enthusiastically ensured that there would be lots of singing. Everyone sported wristbands to remind them to “Watch For God”. Each day God sightings were discussed and colorful lights were added along the walls in celebration.
The elementary division held their activities in a separate area of the church. The children rotated between Bible Discovery, KidVid Cinema, Imagination Station and Maker Games. The preschool/kindergarten division rotated between Bible Adventures, KidVid Cinema, Craft & Play, Exploration Station and Games. There was even a group of nursery children all three and under who checked out these stations as well. All children were provided with a healthy lunch prepared by volunteers in the kitchen.
Here are some photos taken in the preschool/kindergarten division.
A closing ceremony at the end of the day showed a video with highlights of the day, as well as a discussion about the Bible Point and the Bible Buddy. Parents were encouraged to attend this daily event.
On the last day, a preview of VBS 2018 was shown on the screen and the squeals of delight from the children added to the excitement. 2017 was my first experience with VBS and I know that I will be back for more. Will you?