Saturday, August 1, 2015

Growing Through Giving: VBS 2015

When I first saw the email from our Pastor I thought "no way" and I deleted it.

I didn't even consider taking on a leadership role with Vacation Bible School.  Our RE director wasn't able to run it this year and it looked like it wasn't going to happen at all.  I didn't give it much thought and moved on to the emails from Groupon (which I just delete) and Blessed is She (which I devour).  And then I got the text from my best friend Nellie (who is also the photographer for all these quick pics from the week) saying

"We are doing this right?" 

And by 'this' she meant VBS. Cue crickets chirping.

A few nights later as a group of us gathered in her house for our normal Women's Group she called us to task.  If we want a program, and we want it done a certain way, we need to step up and do it.  Now I have written elsewhere about serving in our parish.  About starting a ministry, about teaching our kids to serve... I am not shy about stepping up when I can.  But running a VBS program with just a few months to plan is a huge endeavor and not something I was really sure we could pull off.   Summer was going to be my time to relax, not get crazy busy in the 110 degree heat.

Can you see little Anna in the background? 
Someone must have been praying about it because we did say yes and we found more amazing women and teens to say yes.
We pulled together an awesome core team of 5 women (side note- we are moms - with a collective 23 kids! Even meeting when the kids were still in school was crazy with so many babies and preschoolers running around!).  The most important job (I think) we had to fill was that of a volunteer coordinator.  I know that sounds weird, but we had 100 kids and 63 volunteers! We had teens coming from other parishes to volunteer with us!  It was amazing.  And our awesome volunteer coordinator, Mary, was able to find jobs for everyone and get (most of them) trained and in place.

We purchased a very popular curriculum from Our Sunday Visitor and found other churches in our area that were also using the Everest program, so that we could share props.  We ended up with 12 mountain ranges, back drops, tents, snowflakes and clouds and even an igloo/snow cave!  The wow factor of the sets got the kids really hooked into the program right from the beginning.

We had an awesome music leader who was flexible (praise be!) given that the curriculum really packed in a lot in a short amount of time.  He got the kids up and moving and lifting their voices to God.

We cracked open The Word and the kids had time to learn various stories from the bible that exemplified the themes for each day.

The kids all received prayer journals and had time for prayer in small groups and as a larger group. 

They played hard and went home tired but happy!

Which is exactly how I went home each day.  Tired and Happy.

It was stressful.  It was all consuming.  My feet were sore and my back was aching by the end of the week.  My husband is glad to have my attention again and some good food on the menu once more!  But I had a happy heart because I knew we did good for these kids.

Thanks to all the VBS kids for making all our hard work WORTH IT!  I loved getting to know the teen volunteers better.  And the kids were so joyful!

Their smiling faces, their joy, their love - these kids  draw us closer to God by being a visible witness of His goodness and love here in this world.  

And I wasn't expecting that.  I was expecting to participate in another ministry.  To take on some responsibility and some stress. To work hard and get a few "thanks".  Maybe! And for that to be the end of it.  I wasn't expecting to grow in my relationship with God as much as I did this week.

Each time I snapped on that microphone, my job was to convince these kinder - 6th graders about God's mighty power and enduring love for us.

Opening myself to this role allowed God to continue to transform my heart and rekindle that fire for Him.

And for that I am forever grateful!

So next time you are asked to serve... take a moment and say a prayer.  Ask yourself what you may gain by serving and what you may loose by not serving.  Have confidence that God will provide for you when you are doing His work for His Glory.  And think about saying yes!  I am so glad that I did!

Thanks for stopping by!

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