VBA – Vacation Bible “Adventure” – because isn’t all of life an adventure, especially when you are walking with the Lord? For just one short week out of the summer, July 10-14, my three children, Sophia (13), Owen (9) and Della (7) will be exploring and experiencing that we all are created by God and built for a purpose.
VBA week is one that we look forward to because we get to participate in it together, whether volunteering or in a class with friends. I’ve had several different responsibilities over the years, but two of them have had the most impact on me.
Music is one of my favorite forms of worship. I’m not a singer nor do I play an instrument but there is something about the combination of words with a melody that touches my heart. As a result, I have had the privilege of creating hand motions to the lyrics of the songs our band sings during the opening session each day. It also means I get a “sneak peek” and some input on the song selections. My kids get really excited when we get the VBA music in February. They want to know, “What songs are we going to sing Mom?” I reply, “What songs do you like the best?” Because ultimately the kids are the ones we are serving. With lots of prayer and a little research on American Sign Language, we bring life to our songs in hopes that they will draw these kids into worship. Usually, the first couple days see a little shyness and reservation, but by Friday we are raising the roof as one big family in Christ. Imagine 400+ children singing and moving along with you in praise to our Heavenly Father. The sunlight beams down through the skylights into the Sanctuary, and you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ah, that is my joy and reality when I get to participate in leading worship for the entire week.
In recent years my love of music along with guidance from the amazing Mrs. Lisa Phelps has led me into volunteering with the preschoolers during their Bible story and worship time. I teach Old and New Testament lessons throughout the week, mixing in music, of course, and usually a visual aid as well. Last year the lesson on day four was of Jesus’ death on the cross. We had a 5-foot cross made out of real wood in the room. It was heavy, but we propped it up and hung a string of lights around it. Each child was given a small electric candle to set at the foot of the cross as we talked about how Jesus is the light of the world. But one sad day the light went out. As we marched around the classroom, we learned that Jesus was arrested and taken to a judge by some soldiers. Then, even though the judge couldn’t find anything Jesus had done wrong, he allowed the soldiers to do a terrible thing. The light of the world was nailed to a cross, and all our candles and the string of lights on the cross went dark. For three long days, the whole earth was still and quiet and sad. We covered our eyes and imagined the darkness that came over the earth. We slowly counted to three. On the count of three, we uncovered our eyes to find all the lights were back on because the Light of the World had risen from the dead! WOW, that was a miracle! Jesus was so powerful he even conquered death! Jesus loves us so much he died on the cross so we could live with him forever! And we all chimed in, “Jesus gives us love, follow him!”
Ultimately the kids are the ones we are serving.
What a privilege it is for me to share the most important event in history with Jesus’ little children in hopes that they, too, will capture the magnitude of what Jesus has done for all of us. The wonder in their eyes, their honest questions, and their pure hearts challenge me to trust in the Lord as a child so willingly does.
Many of the children who attend VBA are a part of our church community, but there are certainly children who join us that may have never set foot in a church before. Others are still questioning and curious about who this Jesus is. VBA is about bringing children from all walks of life into one place where we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and live out the truth that Jesus loves all of us no matter what our story happens to be. This is my mission field in this particular season of my life. I am so thankful to be a part of a church that calls me and provides me the opportunity to “Go, and make disciples of all nations,” even in my own backyard.