What is your experience with Vacation Bible School? Though they volunteer, most people dread it because VBS can be a lot of work. However, depending on how it’s organized, it isn’t so hard. It is actually a reward to know you brought joy to these young lives and participated in sharing God’s word with them. But there’s so much more.
Let me share a story with you. This was first published in Working With Preschoolers, March 1982 issues but the story is still pertinent today.
We all laughed as we converted our four-year Vacation Bible School Department to its original state—an Adult class. We returned adult-sized tables and replaced child-sized chairs with larger folding chairs. We gathered teaching pictures and crayons and other supplies used during the VBS sessions. VBS was over.
“I really enjoy teaching in VBS,” Mrs. Goodman said. “I probably enjoy it as much as the children.”
“It’s always fun for me, too,” I said and coughed. “Although by the last day, I usually lose my voice!” We laughed and recalled some of the more difficult experiences.
“You know, the preschoolers with behavior problems usually have a great need to be loved.”
“That’s true,” Mrs. Goodman replied, “but the quiet children also need my love. Remember Sunni, the little dark-haired girl with the big black eyes? Cayla Poole said her family are from Thailand.”
“You’re kidding!” I interrupted. “I heard that a Thai family moved across the street from Cayla. I never connected Sunni with them. Cayla said they barely spoke English and I understood everything this child said.”
Mrs. Goodman waited patiently for me to finish rambling before she continued. Smiling she said, “It turns out that Sunni went home every day and told her mother, in her native language, all about the Bible story she heard in the department.”
“How wonderful! That’s like the mom attended too.” I exclaimed with a mist forming behind my eyes. Cayla had been witnessing to the parents of this family for several weeks. I felt so pleased that Sunni had gotten something out of vacation Bible school that she could share with her family.
“That’s not all,” Mrs. Goodman continued. “Her mother went to Cayla‘s house and repeated the story about Jesus being a savior. She told Cayla that she wanted to learn about Christianity. She was reared Buddhist, but said she wanted Sunni to be reared in a Christian home.”
Tears flooded my eyes now and all I could say was, “You never know when you’re telling a story how far it will go.”
“That’s right,” Mrs. Goodman said “speaking of going, I’ve got to go. I just thought you would appreciate hearing about that.”
“Yes, I certainly do. Thank you for telling me,” I said staring after her, still stunned by what she had told me. I sat down in a large chair at the table and looked around the room. It looked different now without the preschool teaching pictures and equipment. I took a deep breath. I was tired; we all were. It had been a hectic five days. We’d had our hands full with nearly twenty students including a couple of rowdy boys. Silently, I thanked God that none of us had lost our tempers or had fussed at any of the children. I remembered each time I had to redirect boys and girls. As I reached for the light switch, I scanned the room. A little girl’s purse sat on a shelf. I checked the name tag and, just as I thought, it was Sunni’s. I put the purse in my bag of supplies excited to visit the family and personally return it. If I hadn’t heard about Sunni’s story, I’m not sure I would have taken it to her myself. I am ashamed to admit it, but so often I take the children for granted.
Every word and action we display will affect a child and one way or another. There are many children who do not grow up in a Christian home. I will never know what I would have done about the purse, but I hope I would have returned it to the child in spite of her background. All of the children need our love and attention. If you have an opportunity to work in VBS this year, please do. You will meet some wonderful co-volunteers and touch the lives of not only the children you work with, but who knows, possibly their families as well.
Wherever you are you are at the right place when you come to my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.