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Jun 13, 2016

VBS in the Midst of the City a Happy Success

Bobsled racing, ice skating, and a flurry of snowball tossing turned Sanders Hall into an Olympic venue as part of programming at Vacation Bible School, held June 6-9. The spirited games were among the many activities, lessons, and projects meant to interpret and reinforce the program’s message: “Faith is like a muscle. You have to practice to make it stronger.”


A legion of youth and adult volunteers assisted the full schedule of VBS activities both sporting and missional in support of the program’s main verse, “We being many are one body in Christ.”


“It’s important for children of an urban church to understand that crickets sound the same no matter where they live — and so do giggles,” said KariAnn Lessner, minister for children and families.

vbs shoe cutters


The children learned sign language – including how to shout without making a sound – and prepped Meals Ready to Eat for hungry children in Houston who are served by Bayou City Blessings in a Backpack. They also cut and decorated shoe components out of used jeans for children in Uganda who are served by Sole Hope, a non-profit that uses free trade workers to construct the footwear. 


In participating in these outreach projects, Lessner said, the children learned how “outreach is like training for an Olympic event because we want to be our best with helping others.” 


Two-thirds of the 60 VBS campers were four-year-olds, which added even more energy and enthusiasm to four days of upbeat activity. Each morning began with an “opening ceremony” full of songs, bible teachings and a little information about the day’s featured country: Uganda, Vietnam, Jamaica, and India.


Snow  in summer?

Sanders Hall fielded games from each day’s featured country. Wednesday, for example, brought in sporting events from the Winter Olympics. Children eagerly posed with helmets and medals in the brightly painted Jamaican team bobsled, crafted from a large carton. They also “skated” using waxed paper on their feet.


VBS camper Aalija, 10, had never ice skated before and said she’d like to try it on real ice sometime. Energetic volunteers pulled sleeping bags laden with gleeful competitors as part of the bobsled racing, something Olivia, age 5, assessed as “super-fast and super fun.”


Meanwhile, from his post amid a blizzard of puffy synthetic snowballs lobbed by youngsters, VBS teen “coach” Emmet (and human target, apparently) quipped, “This was not in the job description.”


Lessner said the most successful elements of the VBS program here will become part of the VBS offered on the upcoming mission trip to Costa Rica.


To continue supporting the Sole Hope project in which campers cut and decorated 50 pairs of shoe components, please consider becoming a sponsor of a pair of shoes. A $10 donation will enable fair trade workers in Uganda to complete the footwear as well as enable a child to wear them. To contribute, please visit the online donation portal by clicking HERE.