In my experience with VBS, Day 4 (Thursday) is usually the hardest day, but with God’s help and supernatural strength, we made it! (Read about Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here.)
By Thursday, I usually feel like I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks. I know that many of our volunteers feel the same way. so we usually try to be very intentional in keeping momentum going with volunteers who might be growing weary. Here’s what we did today to fuel and re-energize the team:
We asked volunteers to arrive 30 minutes earlier so that they could enjoy a light breakfast (bagels, coffee and juice) with us. We then made a few important announcements before leading the troop in a pep rally. I recruited one of our more energetic leaders to lead us in an energizing chant, complete with noisemakers! It was awesome!
We also began assembling gifts for volunteers. Our craft team leader assembled these gifts for her team:
We are all exhausted but we’re hearing stories of life-change and it makes it all worth it!
Verse for the day:
” ‘For I am with you and will save you,’ says the Lord.”
We are half-way through our week of journeying with Moses and the Israelites. Day 3 of our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS) did not disappoint! (Read about Day 1 hereand Day 2 here.)
There were many highlights but before I share some of them, I wanted to talk about the different Israelite Camp (crafts) we offered this year. The different options were designed to stand alone but several of ours were combined to better suit our needs. Here’s what we chose (some of our crafts were altered from those suggested in the curriculum):
Tent Cleaning & Operation Kid to Kid: Wandering in the wilderness can make for lots of dirty, sandy feet and clothing. At this tent, campers get to learn about the importance of having clean water. They engage in water activities and fold paper to make a cup to drink from.
Music & Camel Herder: The children made tambourines and camel bell jewelry at this area.
Sand Artisan: Sand was added to homemade colored clay and provided to campers and could be molded into any creation they chose. Most children chose to make medallions or pots.
Baker/Butter Making Tent: Here, campers work together as a group to make butter by shaking a large mason jar filled with heavy whipping cream. The butter was then spread onto slices of bread. Yum!
Rope Making: Campers make their very own jump ropes at this station. What makes these jump ropes unique? They are made from plastic grocery bags. Yes, our crafts team leader cut 900 strips of plastic by hand – we love her!
Now for a few highlights:
Since our volunteers are so valuable to us, we offered them very special chocolates.
Our morning celebration is always one of my favorite parts of the day.
Our tummy-filling (aka snack) team makes yummy snacks for our 500+ campers and volunteers each day.
One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing our custom “Hump Day” video made by our Middle School Director and a few of our student leaders. If you have ever watched the Geico “Hump Day” commercial, you will get the idea behind this – Humphrey the Camel was awesome!
Verse for the day:
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Day 2 of our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS) was great! (Read about Day 1 here.)
I always love the chance to roam around and personally say ‘hi’ to everyone, so I took some time this morning to visit with most of our family groups. While visiting, I heard children recite Day 1’s Bible verse and hear some of their God sightings. I also got attacked (I mean hugged!) by some of our campers, which was very sweet. My heart was filled even more when I walked past two of our God Sighting posters and saw them filled with all sorts of ways that our campers have seen God around them.
Another highlight was carrying around a box of doughnut holes for our volunteers. By carrying the snacks around vs setting them on a table, I was able to personally thank them for serving and hear how their first day went. I LOVE that.
After our opening worship celebration, I was able to sit in on the drama – today the children tasted ‘quail’ (marshmallow peeps) and ‘manna’ (frosted flakes) – and see our sand art and rope making stations in action (I will share more specifics about this tomorrow).
Verse for the day:
“For your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
Today we kicked off our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS). Here I talked about how we were getting ready.
Yesterday was our set-up day and it was refreshing to see so many volunteers (of all ages) pitching in to transform our church into the wilderness. When the majority of the set-up was complete, I left the church in a very reflective mood. In fact, I was in a reflective mood for much of the day, thinking about the extravagant grace that God has extended to me time and time again.
You see, some Sundays I walk in to church more confident than others – yesterday was a day where I felt pretty good but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being so thankful for God’s graciousness toward me and the ministry I lead…for the many, many ways that He has provided for our needs, for the awesome privilege it is to be able to share His love with children and seeing it ‘click’ in their eyes and the list goes on. And as only God could orchestrate, one of our SBC volunteers came up to me yesterday, thanking me for being gracious to her (she felt that she was ‘out of the loop’ because of a family issue) but the fact that she still wanted to give us a smidgen of her time, we were thankful to her!
As I stood before the campers and volunteers this morning, my heart was again filled to overflowing. All of our months of planning and preparing had brought us to this point. At that very moment, I was thankful to God for His grace for all of the details that have consumed my thoughts and time for the past few months. I was truly thankful for each and every child, teen, and adult in the room. They were my very first God sighting for the day!
As I walked through the building for the duration of the morning, children were engaged and learning, volunteers were teaching and engaged with the children (I heard, “That was soooo cool!” countless times), team leaders were leading, and everyone was owning their piece of the VBS pie. It was truly a beautiful sight.