By Betty Heshelman – Mooresville Friends Church, Mooresville, Indiana
For many years Mooresville Friends Church of Western Yearly Meeting has used the “canned” or “boxed” Vacation Bible School (VBS) curriculum. Generally speaking, these kits are fine. This year, however, we wanted to use our own creativity. We wanted our Vacation Bible School to reflect the ministries and missions we support.
In our planning discussions, there were many who were concerned. They asked many questions; such as, “Could we be that bold?”, and “How will we know what to do if we do not have professionally written materials?” Yet, confident of the grace of God, we decided to go full steam ahead.
Thus, the VBS education committee decided our program would focus upon the work and missions of Friends United Meeting. Each VBS participant would “travel” to Kenya, Belize, Ramallah and Cuba.
While “visiting” these destinations, the children would learn of the ministry projects, a bit of the culture of that country and life of the people that reside there.
Dale and Sylvia Graves were glad to join the team in the role of travel agents since they had traveled to these countries on various mission trips. They worked with the committee by selecting a few interesting pictures of each destination, providing a few videos and telling stories from each place.
Since Friends United Meeting’s summer mission project was Cash for Classrooms, we decided to build a mock classroom in the corner of our worship room with fake bricks made by stuffing a paper bag with newspaper and covering the open side with another paper bag. Day by day as the children brought in their offerings, bricks were stacked together creating the classroom walls. Each brick represented $5 in donations. At the end of the week the children had donated a total of $525 and built a new outside wall for the school. It was an amazing visual for the children and we, adults, were amazed at what could be done with the help of God.
On Monday we gathered in the meeting room, sang songs and were told of how poor the people in Samburu were. We saw pictures of the school as it stands and realized the children did need bricks to build a better school.
Immediately after that we boarded an “airplane” and flew to Cuba. (A classroom had been converted to look similar to the inside of a plane). Everyone received a carry-on bag and a passport. When seated on the plane we learned how many miles away Cuba was and what the country looked like. As we were listening, our stewardess pushed her cart down the aisle and gave us a snack.
After disembarking, the group of passengers was split into three groups. Each group spent time with Dale and Sylvia, listening to a Bible story and doing a craft project with the groups rotating every 20 minutes until everyone had participated in each activity.
Then we all gathered together in the meeting room for a closing activity of placing the amount of bricks represented by the donations collected that day.
The next day, we traveled from Cuba to Ramallah; Wednesday, we traveled from Ramallah to Kenya; Thursday to Belize; and finally, on Friday we traveled to both Samburu and Turkana. Our frequent flyer miles really added up!
The children and their families all reported having a wonderful time on this whirlwind of a journey. Each participant expressed delight in learning of new cultures and how they could make a difference in a person’s life by simply giving a little bit of money.
Our VBS committee felt satisfied their efforts were so enthusiastically supported and received. We wondered together what other adventures we will be able to create for next summer. Stay tuned and find out.