I admit it: VBS strikes a little fear in my heart. The time commitment, the energy to prepare, the trips to Lowe’s, (among other things) make me anxious about VBS. Then add the words “in the park,” and my anxiety rockets. Doesn’t Jason Carroll know we live in Texas and it’s June? We might as well have VBS on the surface of the sun. I was praying for some kind of divine intervention.
That was my idea leading up to University’s “VBS in the Park” last week. Once Monday rolled around and the kids started showing up, my attitude changed. Yes, it was still hot and humid. Yes, I sweated like a dog every day. But also—it was a blessing to make such sacrifices for the children. If I made a pros and cons list, the pros far outweighed my petty cons.
Planning for VBS started a few months ago and it was decided the kids would learn about some heroes of the bible, specifically Moses, Joshua, and David. During the planning, several ladies volunteered to get crafts ready for the kids to have a hands-on project each day to reinforce the lesson. Lisa Niemuth headed up the crafts and her team had everything cut out and ready for the kids to color, fold, curl, and glue. Irmadean Martin, Jamie Parks, Kimberly Saul, Julie Dilbeck, Rebekah O’Banon, and others helped the kids with their projects.
Several folks assisted with activities and games designed to buttress the bible classes. On Monday, the lesson was on Moses and how the Red Sea parted for the children of Israel. The kids were allowed to walk between walls of water and imagine the aquatic life as the Israelites may have seen it. Tuesday brought the story of Joshua and how he led the children of God to defeat the city of Jericho. The kids marched around Jericho with the ark of the covenant and the sound of the trumpet until the walls fell. Then on Wednesday, the account of David and Goliath took center stage. The kids were allowed to use different kinds of sling shots to get an idea of just how difficult it is to be proficient with them. Jason Carroll, Bryan O’Banon, Andrew O’Banon, Josh Moore, Martin Brockman, Justin Guess, Jack Saul, and many others helped in those activities.
Of course, the central focus of VBS is the bible classes. There were two bible classes each day. On Monday, the kids learned about God’s protection for his people by looking at how God protected baby Moses in the basket. Then they learned about God’s amazing work through Moses by parting the Red Sea. On Tuesday, Joshua was the hero who trusted in God. God defeated Jericho through Joshua’s faith and trust. Finally, on Wednesday, the kids learned that God’s heroes do not always look the part. David was Jesse’s youngest son and did not look like a king, but God chose him. Then God helped David defeat Goliath. We appreciate Jamie Parks, Jason Carroll, Justin Guess, Josh Moore, and Chant Parker for teaching those classes. A special thanks to Ray DuBois for being Mr. Bible each day.
One of the biggest jobs is keeping the kids moving in the right direction—moving between classes, crafts, activities, and the bathrooms. We were blessed with many volunteers to be “buddies” to the kids. Lon and Lana Howard, Joe and Betty O’Banon, Christina Kempner, Lauren Guess, Jon and Laura Warnes, Patty Schafer, Sara Mottu, Izzy DuBois, Erin Moore, Madeline DeLong, Jana O’Banon, and Jenny Carroll all pitched in cheerfully.
One of the most encouraging parts of VBS was that half of the kids in attendance were not University kids. They were friends and neighbors of our folks. Hannah Parker did a great job organizing a meal on Wednesday evening for all the families that participated and especially those who brought kids to VBS. It was a joy to watch so many University people come together to make VBS a stellar experience for the kids.
So, through bleary eyes and aching muscles I say, “VBS in the Park? Yes, please!”