It's been quite a week at our house. VBS 2009 just finished up, and what a great week it was!
I don't even know how to describe how amazed I feel, just overwhelmed with the response of the kids and families involved. We had a record-high 84 kids enroll this year (some were last-minute or during-the-week registrations)! That doesn't include the 3 little shavers in the nursery. So 87 kids. 27 adult leaders. 15 youth helpers (high school and middle school students). Six more adults assisting with our closing night, Family & Friends Night. For a town lucky to be population 800 on a good day, that's an awesome response. God was extra-good to us this week with the weather. It rained a few mornings, but by evening when we started, it was dry and clear enough to hold our assemblies (and snacks and games) outdoors as planned. What a blessing that was!
Here is a photographic review of the week. I could write a novel about the great things God is doing as He worked through kids and grown-ups this week. Let me just sum it up by repeating what our son said, "Mom, this is the greatest Bible School we've EVER had. I wish it could last forever!!"
Our VBS Games Leader (AKA Dad) recruited some help getting his game supplies ready for the week...
Our MC Teri did a fabulous job of engaging the kids at opening and closing time. In the background you can see the "7 C's of History" that we learned about...what a great message of hope for all!
Our beloved school custodian Joe appeared in the skits (he's been with us all 5 years for this) and even celebrated his birthday with us last night. The kids love him during the day (at school), and they love him during the night (at VBS)! What a silly character he played...not much of a stretch for him :)
The skits were set in the Amazon Rainforest. A plane had been stranded there and the wicked Captain Taylor (Alice, second from left) finally "saw the light" after a near-death experience. Angele (left) was a picture-perfect airline stewardess, and Steve (right) pulled double-duty as creation scientist Dr. Jones and one of our Bible Lesson Leaders.
Our very own Pastor Mark joined the cast for one night as the missionary who leads the castaways back to civilization.
In addition to the skits, the kids enjoyed games...
music...(with 3 high school girls and myself)...
arts & crafts (not pictured--I was too busy in the music room!)...and of course, snacks. You can't have VBS without snacks. My favorite memories of Bible School growing up involved sack lunches, a variety of baked goods, and red Kool-Aid. Nowadays we are so much "healthier"....we give out little water bottles instead of the Kool-Aid! ;)
Closing assemblies were led by area clergy, like this one with Pastor Mark (who led "Awesome God" on his guitar).
Our final night was Family & Friends Night. Teri reviewed with the kids and had them act out the 7 C's of History. (Creation was a flower; Corruption was supposed to look mean; Catastrophe spun around like a tornado--although it doesn't look like it in this picture!; Confusion looked...well, confused; Christ looked like who else?; the Cross let his arms fall down when I snapped this picture; and Consummation was supposed to look extremely happy.)
Then I led the kids in singing about six songs. I don't remember. It was kind of a blur - just getting the kids fed and up to school by five so we could help set up everything was a stretch for me! Of course I forgot the programs at home on the final night, but my beloved husband saved my fanny by bringing them with him and distributing copies just in time for people to use after the songs and before the "Rainforest Festival",where we had snacks, cotton candy, a water game, a limbo game, a bounce house, a nature center exhibit of fossils, and face painting! This gal and her husband did a FABULOUS job of turning oodles of kids into all kinds of rainforest creatures. I think Cy was a tiger. (Again, my mind is not clear yet. It was kind of a blur!)
The highlight for Cy (and for me, too) was meeting Dennis Siler, the director of Living Waters Bible Camp. Dennis and four of his kids drove 1.5 hours south (from Westby) to share a really inspiring message of hope with everyone entitled "Dinosaurs and Creation". Dennis left his scientific engineering job about 20 years ago to embrace God's call on his life. He has friends all over the world who study dinosaurs, make models for museums, and make models of fossils such as this HUGE apotasaurus femur bone, over 6 feet long (the real one weighs 11,000 pounds). Compare it to the femur of a mammoth (in front)! It is just mind-boggling. Dennis quoted from Job in describing what may well be a description of such a creature (long before the word "dinosaur" was coined in the 1800s): “Look now at the behemoth,which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.
See now, his strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach muscles.
He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron.
He is the first of the ways of God." --Job 40:15-19
Dennis had an engaging PowerPoint presentation. It was cool to see slides of soft bone, muscle, and blood tissue found in dinosaur fossils. Certainly not millions of years old, as most of us were taught! He is a friend of world-renowned dinosaur model-maker & creationist Buddy Davis, who made the outstanding velociraptor model in the background of this photograph. (Wynne was pretty scared of that model, understandably so!)
After the program, Dennis told me how his family had given up a vacation--their ONLY ONE this summer (because they run a Bible camp, remember!) to come and share with us last night. He said, "I don't tell you this to make you feel bad or make me feel better, but just to share with you how exciting it is when God calls you to do something. It teaches the kids about sacrifice (his family has built houses in Juarez, Mexico, where his eldest son currently has been living as a missionary for over a year), and it teaches them that sometimes you just gotta let God lead the way. Besides, I promised them ice cream on the way home!"
What a man. What a man of God! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dennis, for loaning us all those bones, fossils, backdrops, and your time and love for the Lord. Your enthusiasm and faith are contagious and are growing His kingdom! (And Cy thanks you for the apotosaurus kit, too! Hope to visit with you at camp within the year!)
These last photos aren't in chronological order, but they sum up the week really well. You can just see Paige singing "This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine...."
...and even a 3-year-old knows that she is a child of God and is happy to give Him praise!
Shae's singing "I'll Do My Best" (for You) along with everybody else. It was a pretty touching moment, listening to all of those kids give their hearts to God like that. We don't do altar calls or anything charismatic like that, but we pray that a seed of faith and the urging to know God are planted at Bible School and continued on at home.
Tons of individuals and businesses contribute to the cause, making it possible for us to give the kids this experience (the lessons, activities, snacks, t-shirts, age-appropriate Bibles, and music) for FREE. It is something that makes me very proud to live in a small town where we can still say "Merry Christmas" and "God" and Jesus". We are so blessed, on so many levels!
And God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good! --Genesis 1:31