This year’s VBS theme was Sonquest Rainforest.
We’ve been involved in VBS at our church for the past several years and while I’ll admit it’s a lot of work, it’s also a huge blessing.
I love that lots of our family is involved with Bible school, too, so we get to spend some time working together. DW’s cousin and his wife are the VBS leaders, then among other church members, there are a couple cousins & aunts & even my in-laws who are group leaders, helpers, cooks, etc… and Lauren & Adam lead the music time.
Of course, the setting up comes first, and I love that part, too!!!
A group of us met one night the week before VBS started to work on the decorations.
Prior to our “work night,” DW and I had gathered carpet rolls from his cousin’s store (some were 15 feet long and so we decided to drive the farm’s flatbed dump truck to get them!) AB and I rode along, and because I am such a dork, I took pictures, too.
After gathering our “supplies” I called in “back-up.” There’s not much I do (especially when it comes to constructing something) that I don’t call my parents to help me figure out how to make it work. My mom’s great at coming up with ideas and my Dad’s the best at making them happen. He also keeps us reigned in. For example- when mom and I agreed that we needed to leave some of the palms 15 feet tall, so they’d look “real,” my Daddy replies with, “sounds great, ya’ll can just take the roof off the church, set the trees down, then put it back on.” We’re a good team, for sure. :)
It didn’t take long for Mom & Dad to help us get it all figured out. They had made “palms” for VBS back when I was a kid a LOOONG time ago, so they remembered what they did back then and we went from there. The main thing was figuring out the “banana trees,” which I think turned out great!
For the past 3 years, we have drawn a backdrop for the sanctuary, and above it is the screen where the words for the songs, bible verses, etc. goes every night, so the kids can read along.
We got quite a big accomplished the day we met for our “work night.” We made the rest of the trees and leaves, crumpled vines and hot glued leaves on them, painted the backdrop and fluffed flowers. A few of us met the next day to put it all in. The guys installed the backdrop and screen, and moved everything around for us.
VBS actually started on Sunday night, so we had most of our stuff set up Sunday morning at church. The only thing we had to do after church was move the communion table and pulpit.
Annabelle got rescued a few times by Grammy & Pop, but for the most part, she hung right with us, and considering, did so good. She explored every pew in the sanctuary… and may or may not have even gotten to crawl under a few with her cousins.
She even went every night (except one) with us to VBS. Here she is sitting the back running the sound and screens with her Uncle Adam & Daddy.
Along with organizing the decorations/setting up, DW and I have done the assembly skit for the past few years. In the past, we’ve played an aunt and uncle on a farm and then camp leaders. But this year, we had REALLY different parts, especially DW. This year I was a “world renowned professor” leading a group of kids on a trip to the rainforest and DW was “Tarzoto - THE River Man.” He’s a good sport, that’s for sure. I don’t know many men who will sport a pony tail and bandana, other than Willie Nelson.
When we weren’t doing the skit, DW and I could be found stationed by the 5-gallon Igloo cooler outside with the recreation group. We served up ice cold Kool-Aid. Because it isn’t Vacation Bible School unless you leave with a red Kool-Aid mustache, right? Even Annabelle had her first sip of the “red-syrup” and was so silly afterward, we’re quite sure she was on a sugar-high. She didn’t know what to think of it, except that she needed more. Poor baby is still only getting half “Motts for Tots” juice and half water in her sippy cup! She wasn’t the only kid on a sugar-high, though. We got word that Kool-Aid might not be the best thing to serve the kiddos, the cheapest yes, but not the best for keeping them calm… After the first 2 nights we switched to Gatorade in the Igloo. That watered down orange Gatorade made me think of Elementary school when we’d do those walk-a-thons and jump-a-thons for the March of Dimes and at the end they’d always serve watered down Gatorade in McDonald’s cups. Anybody else with me????
The week went really well, with only a few glitches, and I can say that I think the adults who helped in VBS had the opportunity to get as much, if not more out of it, than the kids who attended. That’s true, for me, anyway. There were times during the week when I’d think to myself, “these kids just aren’t getting it. They aren’t listening and they really don’t even care what we’re trying to teach them…” I’d even go so far as to start feeling like it was a big waste. Then I’d over hear one of the kids talking about the Bible story that particular day, or hear them singing the songs they’d been learning, or just see them being kind to one another and it was obvious they were “getting it.” I’d also have opportunity after opportunity to put into practice the things we were trying to teach. That’s SUCH a hard one!!!
I think the biggest lesson I learned this year is that it’s all about “planting seeds”. We may not see immediate results, but we were “planting seeds” for sure. I was most moved when the oldest group got up to sing the song they had learned that week on the last night. I was almost in tears sitting in the front row as they sang “I’ll follow you” to the tops of their little lungs and knelt down on their knees. I can’t imagine what that must sound like to Jesus. I get chills just thinking about it.
That night, seeing all those groups from the tiniest to the oldest get up in front of the church and say and sing their parts was just precious. I knew WE were ALL leaving with seeds planted in our hearts. And THAT is what makes it all worth it.