The past two years I have taken time off from work to serve during Vacation Bible School at my church. I love VBS. My Mom worked in VBS for years and any time I do something to carry on her legacy that I also enjoy, it warms my heart. My position during the week was in Preschool Crafts...two words I love...Preschool and Crafts! Preschoolers are the best. They are young enough to still want love and hugs regularly but old enough to carry on some pretty stellar conversations. Crafts are one of my favorite things to do in life. It's therapeutic and accomplishing. Mix the two together and you have a week of exhausting fun. This year, I'm compiling my lessons learned from the week. A glorious week. I truly will miss it next week when I'm back at work.
I'm good with crafts, not so good with room decor - This year's theme was Agency D3 (Discover, Decide, Defend) and we were all agents in training. The craft room was known as The Lab where we would make exciting things to help tell about Jesus. Tessa is our leader and does a phenomenal job decorating our room. I was helping her hang a few test tubes and bubbles coming out of the concoctions when I placed one incorrectly. You see, it was a pyramid-shaped flask and I hung it upside down. Picture it. The flask upside down with bubbles coming out of it. Tessa was kind enough to point out that I needed to turn it upside down, otherwise it looked like a martini glass. Whew, close one! Don't let me decorate a room unsupervised.
Craft ideas are educational - Of course, the point of crafts is to continue the theme of the week and the lesson learned each day. Day Two we talked about how Jesus wasn't just any man. He could do things nobody else could do...like walk on water. On that day we made a Jesus Walked on Water Bottle. The kids filled their empty water bottles with beads, glitter and sequins and then we filled them with water, a little food coloring and baby oil. The baby oil made the items float to the top...and "walk" on water. Who knew? Not only was that a cool craft, but we all smelled good at the end of the day and had very soft hands.
My co-workers should be required to work VBS every year - These 3-5 year olds were exceptionally good this year. We had very little whining and most of the issues were minor. So many of them helped their friends and on the last day when new people came, they befriended them and made sure they weren't left out. The hardest part of the week was when the little ones were exhausted and just flat tired from the rigorous schedule. One day when I left I was monitoring my work email for any disasters and saw more than one email that shook me back to reality. Whining and complaining...throwing blame at others....you would have expected that from preschoolers, not employed adults. Many of my co-workers would benefit from a week being humbled by preschoolers. And shown how a person should act and play well with others.
It Takes a Village to Do VBS - We had 4 workers in our craft room. Each of the five preschool classes that came in had 5-6 workers. That comes to about 40 workers, just for preschool and the craft room. You factor in all the other aged rooms, and rotation rooms, like crafts and your number exponentially increases. One group that gets the award for amazing work was our Snack team. About 16 people worked tirelessly crammed in our kitchen making tons of wonderful snacks for all the kids and workers. And not just any snacks. Their "food replicator" created "disguised" food for everyone. My favorite snack of the week were the disguised sushi rolls. A rice krispie treat rolled around a jelly bean and wrapped in a fruit roll-up. Yummy! The snack crew not only made the food, but delivered it as well. They kept the workers' snack room full and for those of us who couldn't break free, they delivered our snacks to us. Once all of our classes were done at the end of the day, we'd enjoy our plate of snacks. Beyond those of us that were working all week at VBS, there were countless others who cut out crafts, donated items and prayed for a successful week. It takes a village for VBS.
Every child has a soul that will never die - This isn't a new lesson for me; our pastor reminds us regularly of this truth. But after spending a week with preschoolers who soaked up the truth about Jesus and learned their memory verse by the end of the week, it became even more real that this truth is the foundation of why we do VBS. The seeds planted in the hearts of these little ones, we pray, will grow into having them accept and follow Christ one day. I haven't heard all of the results of the week that was VBS, but I know of at least two girls who decided to follow Christ. That is worth all the exhaustion, stickers, messes, paint spills and plaster clean ups we did.