It’s been a busy week. I’ve been a “tribe leader” at Vacation Bible School. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. I’m quite tired and the songs we’ve been teaching the children are going through my head pretty much non-stop. I’ve been getting my aerobics workout, too, as each song has hand motions, kicks, circles.
The focus of the week at VBS is studying the life of Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Most folks know them better by the names the Babylonians gave them: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel’s Babylonian name Belteshazzar isn’t used by our time, maybe because it is a mouthful to try to say.
Day 1–Daniel and his friends have been taken from their homes to Babylon to be trained for three years to be servants to King Nebuchadnezzar. We had the kids think about what they would miss if they were taken from their homes, made to eat new foods, and learn a new language. We teach them that even when things change, God is with them.
Day 2–Daniel interprets a dream for the King, giving all the credit to God. The lesson: When you need help, God is with you!
Day 3–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are in trouble for praying to the One True God instead of to the many Babylonian gods and to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel led us into prayer to God for safety when they are thrown into the fiery furnace, should it be his will, but to watch over them whatever his will. We learn right away that the prayers worked and the friends were saved. We teach the kids that when they are afraid, God is with them.
Day 4–We can hear lions from Daniel’s chamber. He’s a bit afraid as a new edict has gone out that people who pray to any but the king for 30 days will be thrown to the lions. We get into a circle and start praying. A palace guard comes in and sees Daniel praying, arrests Daniel, and takes him off to the lions’ den. The children were quite alarmed and wanted to go rescue him, but were told they’d be in trouble, too, so we prayed as Daniel had prayed the day before. We teach the kids that even when they are lonely, God is with them.
Day 5–Daniel was rescued by God today. The guard was in Daniel’s room when we got there. He looked from the window and saw the king running to the lion’s den. “I’ve never seen the king run before. I’ve never seen the king’s legs before!” A short while later Daniel entered and the guard acted like he was a ghost. The session ended shortly after Daniel showed us a proclamation from the king proclaiming that Daniel’s God was the true living God. The lesson: When you are thankful, God is with you!
VBS raised $52.01 for malaria nets for children in Mali by putting spare change in a pot every day. I contributed by taking a purse of pennies left from Ed and making sure every child got to put a couple of the mosquito clips (a sign of donation) on the net during the week. Today I dumped the remainder of the purse in the pot. Didn’t make as much noise as I expected as the pot already had a lot of coins. Hurrah!
I’m both happy and sad the week is over. It was a great experience but I’m exhausted. I’m not sure how I would have made it without the wonderful ladies who fed us a meal every evening before VBS started.
My tribe was great. Our cheer, “Lion of Judah! Lion of Judah!” [ROAR] was well received at the final celebration. The other groups had great cheers, too. The symbol for the tribe of Benjamin is a wolf, so they howled. The tribe of Dan was a bit silly, but very effective, with a “country” cheer. There was a video of still pictures of the week’s activities to show to the parents who came. Then VBS was over except for eating the popsicles and cleanup. Some of my tribe thinks that VBS is happening again very soon, though I tried to explain it was next summer. “In 21 days?” “No, in 12 months.” “Are you sure?” I was sure, but reminded them that God would be with them even when they weren’t at VBS.
We had the children tell us “God sightings” that we recorded on “tiles” and posted on the walls of the “temple.” Some of the sightings were truly beautiful, some whimsical, all from the heart. We had clouds shaped like elephants, and a lizard on the window, thankfulness for the food and the songs, the rain and the sky, family and friends, and the chance to come to VBS to learn. Even the youngest had something to contribute. It was so special!
Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to learn from these children as I tried to teach them your word.