I always enjoy spending my vacation helping with Vacation Bible School at Parma Heights Baptist Church because it is so much fun, and so BIG, and so well organized! Once again, we had another fantastic week and kudos to our two summer interns, Ben and Camilla, who helped with so much to make it great for the children. Thanks to them (and the help of the youth group), the church hallways were transformed into what looked like a deep sea aquarium.
Not only did they head up planning all the decorations, but they also took on the job of scientists, conducting amazing experiments in our lab for grades 4-6. We had over 800 children attend through the week and over 180 workers each day. The children brought in $1,780 for the Chain of Love orphanage in Brazil and $1,134 worth of hygiene products for our youth to take with them on their missions trip next week to assist Kids.inc in Indianapolis.
I was especially blessed helping in the fourth grade group by being a small group leader of nine very energetic, enthusiastic and cooperative boys. In our small group time, we help the kids memorize the daily verses, review the Bible story and emphasize personal application. The verses were not the same ones we usually have that so many are already familiar with so I was very pleased that all the boys in my group made an effort to learn them each day. Even new ones who came on Tuesday, also said Monday's verse to help our team stay in first place.
Two highlights for me in our small group time was when one of the boys said he wanted to pray to receive Jesus as his Savior and I was able to pray with him one on one. It is not enough to just know that God loves us and Jesus died in our place to save us from the punishment we deserve for our sins. Each one must accept his gift of eternal life by asking forgiveness, and trusting in Jesus as his/her personal Savior, thanking him for dying for them and be willing to live for him by obeying his word with God's help.
The second highlight was when we applied Psalm 28:7 in our small group by asking the Lord to help us all memorize that verse which is:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.When I first saw it, I thought the boys won't be able to do it and that's exactly how they felt when they saw it too! (I let them know I felt the same way.) It was unfamiliar to all of us, but the Lord answered our prayer and each one did learn it! After that, the boys were so encouraged and amazed they did it, they were ready to go all the way and learn the last two of the week as well. Some were not used to memorizing verses and were really surprised when they were able to do it!
I think what made this small group so special was the chemistry they had. All were included and as more came the second day, they were welcomed in with our special "green turtle chest bump" greeting that the boys came up with on their own. I encouraged this and they definitely wanted to help each other succeed in memorizing the verses. It was great to see them helping and encouraging each other.
The over 8,000 homemade cookies were a wonderful treat! It's nice having so many people in our church who actually like to bake and cook!
Praise be to God for a great week! It was a LOT easier than sports camp and much less draining! My husband enjoyed helping in the 4s and 5s group where they had around 100 kids, but said the songs got on his nerves after the second day. (He is sitting on the floor in front of the camera on the puppet pic in the video.)