Tuesday, August 6, 2013

VBS Kingdom Chronicles and NDFH

 Once upon a time. a long-long time ago ...
last week ...
there was a summer Vacation Bible School
that was planned in a kingdom far away ...
at our church up the road ...

Coming from a small rural church, we really appreciate help from ANYONE in the congregation who shows an interest in helping in their Spiritual-gifted area. And pretty much once you've helped with VBS or Sunday School and you're a Believer, you're on the list going forward as someone who will hopefully serve in coming years! :-)
{and isn't that the way it should be? I actually rue the day that I don't have children in the program and I'm not a first thought of someone who might help!}

This year we lost several of our normal "go-to" folks due to people moving away and also a transition in leadership on the Pastoral level that has shaken things up a bit. It really was one of those seasons of faith for those of us involved with the VBS planning. Who would fill all the vacant spots in preparation, leading and serving? And who would be coming for children?

Here is where things ramped up for me. I'm a graphic designer/artist by design. Paper, pencil, paints, computer, things on small scale, hand-held--that's kinda my arena. But this year ... I was called to do the drama set design and general decorations for the church.
That pretty much sets the tone for the entire visual aspect right from the get-go. Yes, the message of God's word is the MEAT of the VBS ... but capturing the eyes and mind of the child to open their heart through the theme and stories leads up to that MEAT meeting their hearts.

This is where I really shouldn't have worried.
God had it covered.
But me, being the ever-worrier ... worried.
Even despite the rainbow that God put in the WEST over the church on the morning that I was first meeting the VBS director, Julia, for our first prep meeting on what our first plan of attack would be.

And the SECOND rainbow, that was a DOUBLE rainbow btw, that He sent just a few days later in the week as I found myself neck deep in kids and surprise out-of-state guests that gave me AN HOUR'S notice before arriving (but don't get me wrong, we were tickled to have them stop! And really, any more than an hour and nothing more probably would have gotten done without getting undone before they arrived, right?) It's just so crazy, we never have guests ... then it all kinda came at one point in a very hot, busy week.

But I really shouldn't have worried. The church deacons came to my rescue with only one day's notice to help me build the wooden supports behind the cardboard set that I had painted (in 98 degree weather btw.) The Elders let us assemble it onstage as it was created instead of leaving it until the day before Bible School as had become the norm in years past. (I can only imagine how crazy that set-up day could have been!)

Julia made over 30 incredible castle banners for the walls of our sanctuary space (a very difficult space to decorate as it is so large and plain.)
Jeff found a website with incredible suggestions on making castle decorations out of things like curled black poster board and tissue paper and solo cups for "wrought-iron" lanterns.

and I was also able to fashion some duct-tape iron gates--complete with a drawbridge (that Julia just happened to have in her garage (aka: a patio fence panel) needing a new home!)
In fact I got to know duct tape pretty well by the time I made a couple of sets for the dragon lair on stage and the entries that the kids LOVED to go through.

The stage really turned out great!
Complete with a Knight in Shining Armor {made from Jeff's hockey helmet, elbow, shin, chest pads and hockey pants over his fishing waders and my garden boots all wraped in aluminum foil and suspended on our entryway coat tree!}

In addition to supper that the women of the church served to the kids and staff nightly, the food ministry team had great themed SNACKS for later in the evening including these super cool "dragon tongues" and "dragon scales" made from long fruit roll ups and Doritos!

And the kids came! 
Just under 50 in number, all soaking in God's Word!

 Playing Games




And our VBS Mission Project was to raise money to sponsor a child at New Day Foster Home in Beijing, China
It truly was a wonderful VBS that flowed so well, the kids came, the people served and helped, God's Word was taught. It was perhaps the best drama plays done for the VBS yet and kids couldn't get enough and were on the edge of their seats until the next day!
Our VBS spokesperson, Ryan, volunteered a challenge to the kids that IF the boys raised more money in Christopher's donation bucket then his WIFE, Tara, would receive a pie in the face ...
IF the girls raised more money in Annabel's donation bucket then HE would SHAVE off his hair!
Well ...
Not only did it "miraculously" end in a tie between Christopher and Annabel's buckets (thanks to some generous adult hearts) ... the kids raised not only enough to sponsor Annabel ... But they raised enough to also sponsor Christopher too for one year!
That's a lot of money folks.

And what I truly loved BEST? ...
Was that the bulk was given in change.
Quarters and pennies, nickels and dimes. (OVER $200 in COINage!)

The children gave from their hearts and their own pockets. True, we needed the help of some generous ADULT hearts to make it happen in full ... but God loves a joyful giver, no matter the age. 
And I think there was so much JOY in this project! It's no wonder it was overflowing.

And as for Ryan?
He's such a sport that he let them dye his locks 2 colors before they lopped it off. 
(No worries, the blue and fuscia came off his scalp before he attended a WEDDING the next evening and a big work shin-dig the following day after that.)

AND his wife ducked and HE got the pie in the face!

My prayer over VBS this year was that God would be glorified in our efforts. I was so excited to have New Day Foster Home as our mission project focus ... to see the set come together and that it was exciting to SEE and feel like you were in a Kingdom far, far away ... to see the kids, including my own 3 boys, come and soak in God's Word ... and give from their hearts and to be excited about sponsoring one of God's special little ones that we'll probably never meet on this side of Heaven ... but hopefully will on the other side.
God's goodness abounds and He is ever faithful in His plan!
I'm so blessed that He made me a part of this one.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful write up Valerie! I love the pictures you took to give it the personal appeal! Your efforts were not in vain! The kids and adults enjoyed the vbs! Thanks, Chris

Angie Sanders said...

What a wonderful time! So strange not to see my kiddos in the photos...especially Brayden and Gabe together. Hope the boys are having an amazing school year. Miss you all! p.s. I'm back bloggin again, yay!! :)

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