Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Water dousing Chocolate Bars and Ipods and other VBS Adventures

Praying to thank God for answering prayers.
 This year our church decided to equip us to go out into our communities and run a Vacation Bible School.  It is the first time it has not been done at our church, and I was a little nervous.  When I don't know what to predict, I get that way.   I knew my rock wall is too tippy to feel secure in hosting it here, but I wondered if it might be possible to pull it off in a park.  It turned out to work beautifully.  Because I live in a community where I do not go to church, I have friends who attend churches all over the local map, as well as many who just don't.  So I talked to lots and LOTS of them about helping with this VBS, and most of them said they could.  It has been so much fun this week to see all these people's great talents come together to teach kids about God!

Kim was a bunny in the animal guessing game.  This went with the theme "I am made wonderfully complex."

Dan, our fearless music leader, and Eva and Emma announcing that we'll be planting 140 trees so far!

Dousing the altar like Elijah
The Sacrifice

Best location.  EVER.  Especially in the sun.

  VBS has been one of the top 5 things I absolutely love about my church.  This is not only because it's where I got to know some of my best friends, but it's also because you are keyed in to watch for God working.  I know he's constantly working his wonders in my life.  But there's something about trying to convey that to little bouncy kids who aren't mine that really makes sharing the Story real to me.  This is what Jesus did every day...this intensely focusing on how each person He met might most clearly grasp His Message.  To me, it is exhausting, but so beautiful.

A big and little brother decided to make matching keychains..the theme that day was  "God made me Wonderfully Complex"  This pair of kids was adorable to watch..the love the big bro had for his little bro was clear.

It is different to be on the administrator end of things.  I am not sitting each day with the same children, ministering to them, but instead I get to be like a little fly, flitting around to the different stations, checking supplies, taking photos, checking that everyone is accounted for and teachers aren't going nuts, and best of all, watching my dear friends let God work through them.
The queen of preschool, Josie

Lisa, our story gal, and two of our panda helpers.  Eva is our "PandaGram," telling the kids about their mission project, which is to donate towards reforestation of Madagascar through a ministry called "Eden Reforestation Projects."

 Jill, who is a very organized and a great leader, is in charge of games.  For this, I am eternally grateful, because I do NOT get rules at all.  Josie, who is a miracle worker with preschoolers, somehow ended up with them being the bulk of her group.  Dan, our music leader, transposed the VBS CD music so that he could play it all himself and sing with the kids.  He has taken on the role of emcee, so I don't have to talk!  Diona, who I only knew through her mom, has driven a half an hour each morning with her two girls, just to lead a group.  Lisa, who has the biggest heart I've known, is the story teller, and gets to share the Bible stories in a hands-on and engaging way.  You can tell when kids' chins drop that they are really into it.

Margy baked 65 cupcakes so that the kids...and adults could have little cupcake "altars" to remind us of the story of Elijah and the altar.  Glory and Terra are the craft wonderwomen.  They somehow manage to get over 30 kids each day to make tiny intricate crafts with out having them come out with glue and marker all over themselves, all while even having their own preschoolers to get ready each day.  Hillary and Jill have probably the rowdiest bunch of boys in their group, but their kindness and patience is what obviously engages the kids as they work on Bible verses and discussion questions.  Kim has a smile that makes everyone else want to smile.  She usually has a kid in her lap, and you can tell she loves the activities as much as the kids in her small group.  On top of this, we have had a steady and strong group of youth helpers, filling in the gaps by catching wayward children, doing bathroom runs, and just being an extra hand.

Elijah's Altar Cupcakes.  See all the water and the flames in spite of it?

Mascot of the craft tent

It's obvious God is working, because this...a Vacation Bible School, is not something I can pull off.  I am not an administrator.  I am a Moses type, who would rather let someone else speak.    I keep telling people, I knew this VBS was ok, and probably God's idea, because I didn't get a sinking feeling when I thought of doing it.  Normally I do if I know something's just not right.  But it just fit well.  Abby Nelson, our kids' pastor,  and her myriad helpers have prepared everything for me, so that I just had to find the people, the location, and the time to host and organize it.

Jill...she is one of my boys' most favorite teachers at school, and she volunteered to help without me even asking!

 I am seeing God work each day.  It has been the wettest summer most people around here have seen in a long time.  The week before our VBS, it poured for most of the week.  Dan, our music leader, said he had never prayed so specifically before.  We had many, many people praying for our weather.  Guess what? We had sun so much that it was hot on our first day!  The second day, no rain either.  Rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week, but the kids have had their appetites whetted.  I have a feeling that, rain or shine, many will return.  I also know that God is pretty smart, and he can hold back a few clouds, if that's what needs to be for His message to go out.

Snack Stars!

Today, the Bible story was when Elijah asked God to light a completely sodden altar on fire to show the prophets of Baal, and the people, that He was the one true God.  The prophets of Baal prayed ceaselessly, and had no reply, but Elijah prayed once, and fire rained down.  Lisa shared with the kids that she had prayed that morning for good weather, and just at that moment, the sun shone brightly down on the children, and she got to point right at what she had prayed for.

Game Geniuses!
The kids got to move stones and sticks to build their own altar, and then came their symbolic offering...a GIANT Hershey's Chocolate bar.  The kids were mortified, and so were the helpers!  It was when they dumped 3 pitchers of water on that fire that it really sunk in that the sacrifice was done for.  After that,  Lisa asked them to imagine what it must have been like when God not only burnt up that soggy offering, but everything around and beneath it.  He is a powerful God, and He answers prayer, and you could just see that soak into their little minds.

Standing back from the altar.

My Ipod had its own baptism of sorts.  After VBS was done on the first day, I put it safely in my car.  I had been carrying it around because I had saved the VBS songs on it, in case there was a problem and Dan's equipment didn't work.  Later that evening, I remembered where I had put it, reached in, and pulled out a completely submersed Ipod.  I am currently drying it over my heater vent, but I think the lesson I am learning is complete and total trust.  I don't have to always have a backup.  God's got the steering wheel.

My sweet girl.
My favorite thing though, was when we were riding home, and my 5 year old said, "Mom, I don't have to be alone when I'm afraid, and I can give God a hug anytime because he's right in my heart."


  1. Angie,
    I was so blessed by your anointed and inspired blog account of PandaMania VBS at Terrace Park in Arlington. Your story powerfully tells of God's mercy, grace, and love.... that God is surely blessing you and the team through your commitment and obedience with powerful Kingdom work and divine interventions in the lives of the kids.

    I will continue to pray for God's life changing intervention in the hearts of the team and the kids. May the sun shine.....and for sure may the Son shine!

    By His Grace through Faith may all be Saved,
    Rebekah Baeder-Johnston

  2. Loved hearing how it is going. So thankful that you have poured yourself heart and soul into this! God will use it far more than you will ever know. Continuing to pray for the rest of the week!

  3. Thanks so much for your account of God's Grace, Mercy and Love!!

    Yeah!! Irene

  4. It looks like you have a great team and a lot of kids! I love that your VBS is in the park. It's a great opportunity for other kids and families to see what's going on!

  5. Gotta dry my eyes before I can comment. Your expression of what Jesus did every day, "intensely focusing on how each person He met might most clearly grasp His Message," has so inspired me!


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