My church has Vacation Bible School this coming Monday, and today – Friday – was the first official “work day” for setting everything up. Actually, the preparation for this annual event started much earlier than today. That being said, I simply must share my experience at church on this “first” day of setting everything up.
Let me share what today was like for me. It’s only my second involvement in VBS so my eyes are still fresh and the activities are not as familiar and well rehearsed to me as they are to some of the others on the team. This is what I have experienced in viewing, listening, and participating in the preparations for our VBS. We have a team of children, parents and grandparents and some who have no children but have love to give. Our youngest helpers are 6 year old twin girls and work happily and respectfully, keeping busy and with no complaining, whining, or even yawning! Okay, by 3:30 today (Friday) I was yawning. Not the twins. I’ve had people call me to see if there was anything they could do to help and insist that I call if anything should come to me that they might do. I’ve had others chat with me about how “outside their comfort zone” the project they were working on was and yet they took on more of it willingly and voluntarily. I watched wall murals go from bargain priced bed sheets to art that will bring joy and laughter and learning to small children and these murals were created on the “honor” system by many hands who came during their free hours day and night, borrowed keys to get into the building if needed, and found brushes, paint, and whatever else was needed, found an unfinished (or not yet started) mural and just assessed the needs they could find and got to work. I watched young and old take broken cardboard boxes, tin foil, paper plates, odd bits of scrap wood, remnants of fabric, and bits of fabric scraps, string, and plastic drop clothes and transform a fairly plain yet functional space into one that laughingly and happily is transforming before our eyes into a “beach bash” with Jesus. I saw people with pain of one kind or another work through the pain because their heart was with the Lord and the children and the pain was less important. I saw a crowd of high school students from Fort Dorchester High flock to the church multiple times to help paint, to help move heavy furniture, to decorate, and even to prepare things outside of St George’s and bring them in to add to the festivities – most of these are not kids from our parish, but students of one of our parish who excitedly wanted to help the children that their teacher was helping. They are also going to perform skits to teach the children about Jesus. I observed a young girl from this high school class sitting on our kitchen floor, sore ankles and all, singing Christian comtempory songs to herself and painting a giant beachball onto a scrap of plywood and smiling all the while. She came before her teacher got to the church and got right to work with the rest of us, never having met any of us before. As it became late afternoon, a six year old with nothing to do got thirsty, heard an adult say “me too” and after I showed her where the ice was and handed her a scoop and placed a stack of plastic cups on the counter, she poured ice water for every single person she could find in the Christian education building.
It is Friday and I write this jumble of words. I am tired, I admit. Like everyone, I’ve spent a lot of time running from place to place and shed to classroom, but it’s such a good tired. I heard that tomorrow there would be so many more coming to help and I can’t wait to go back and be part of the group. Regardless of how tired, hungry, or in pain some of the group will be during the day, nobody will give up until the transformation which has begun is complete as Vacation Bible School begins on Monday. It’s all about Jesus. Everyone wants to take part. It’s also all about the children, but somehow I think that they are blessing us every bit as much as we are blessing them. Next week will be wild, but I can’t wait for it to begin! I am so thankful to be a part of it! There is no telling what blessings are yet to be outpoured – Our Lord just never stops!
Stay tuned. I’ll have more to share as it comes to pass!