It’s been a good day. Even though I woke up with stomach problems and developed a headache during church, I could not help but thank the Lord for what he’s doing in our tiny congregation. Why? Because today I saw how the Vacation Bible School (VBS) that I’ve taken for granted all my life can make a difference in the life of a child.
Yes, this is the same VBS that I attended faithfully ALL my growing-up years. Lining up on the church steps, marching in, saying the pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag AND the Bible. Listening to stories of missionaries and Bible characters, making crafts, playing games and, of course, having snacks.
In Southern Baptist churches, even Arabic ones, this makeup has changed little. Of course, the music is more modern and there’s “dancing” or “interpretive movement”, but the stories, the pledges, the fun hasn’t changed. Just as previous generations of children have been exposed to the message of salvation and love of God, so too are they today. I watched the reactions of the children in our morning service, as the director shared with the congregation highlights of the week. They were engaged, excited, and so happy to have been a part. Each child shared what they liked best about VBS; and while snacks, crafts and soccer still rank high, they also loved the class time with their teachers, hearing Bible stories and answering questions on what they learned.
This same VBS impacted one child and his family in a special way. Traumatized by change from one culture to the next, he was afraid to answer the door bell or speak to strangers. The parents were seeking professional help, to overcome the fears that paralyzed him. A few days into VBS, his father, who is not from Christian background, noticed a change in his son. No longer would he hide when the bell rang. No longer was he shy with strangers. Something had made a difference.
“No longer will we send him to a counselor,” declared the father. “Now, we’ll just send him to church!”
There he was on this Sunday morning; eyes bright, smile on his face, engaged with his friends. God was working in his life through the love he found at VBS.
So, on this day, after a good afternoon nap and dissipating headache, I thank God. I thank God for men and women who give of their time, their precious time and energy, to love on children through Vacation Bible School. Some serve year-after-year, without complaint, because they too know the difference in the lives of children that can be made with pledges, crafts, stories, fun and Jesus.
Grace and Peace