First of all, the kids were not separated into age groups, but rather into small groups called Families, with older kids mixed with the younger ones. I like this because the big kids are able to help with the little ones.
They had their gym set up with tents that made it look like a marketplace. The kids got three coins each day to spend in the marketplace, where they could chose from several really cool crafts.
The theme was Rome: Paul and the Underground Church. BK came home the first day bubbling over about everything that happened. She told me that there was a man in chains and a very grumpy man. I found out later that it was Paul in chains and his guard Brutus. Everyday the kids would visit Paul, who told them about Jesus and the underground church. By the end of the week, Brutus wasn't grumpy anymore because Paul talked to him and he decided to follow Jesus. We had to get a pic with Paul and Brutus.
One day they brought animals in for the kids to pet and play with.
Another thing that impressed me was the number of adults volunteering to help. This is a relatively small church and normally has about 60-70 kids attending VBS. This year they topped 100. I heard that they had about 50 adults helping. Some of these folks use vacation time to take off work to participate.
But probably the most important thing that I noticed was how they loved the kids.
During their song time one day, BK had a meltdown. They made two long lines facing each other and at several times during the song they walked forward to clap with anther person. BK didn't have a clapping buddy and she just lost it. The Children's Director happened to be walking by and jumped in to be her clapping buddy.
My youngest grandson is three and not quite old enough for VBS. I brought him with me every day so he wouldn't feel left out and had planned for us to hang out together and find something to do. One of the VBS teachers noticed him and asked if he could be in her group. So every morning, she came looked for him and took him to her group. He was super excited to be a part of it all.
The other grandsons and BK's group leaders were a sweet couple who had so much patience with them and really seemed to enjoy their time with them.
Friday night during the closing celebration, they all sang their songs that they learned during the week. They also made decorated "chariots" from large wagons and they had a parade across the gym. Thanks to the sweet group leader, my three-year-old grandson got to sing and be in the parade with the other kids too. He was so happy to be a part of the festivities.
There is no way to measure the impact that those five days will have on all of the children's lives. VBS is more than just a place for frazzled parents to drop off their kids to have a break for a few days. It is a great place to teach about Jesus. But more importantly, it is a wonderful way for adults to show Jesus' love to the least of these. Thank you all for a week that none of us will ever foget!
And they'll know we are Christians by our love...by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Chrisitans by our love.