It’s one of the weeks Schnickelfritz most looks forward to---a week of VBS in my aunt’s town. This church really has a heart for reaching kids. This time I got to talk to some of the volunteers and get some inside scoop. They begin working on VBS as soon as the Christmas pageant is done. They must have some incredible craftsman based on the columns to enter the market place.
I also learned that they keep all the props and decorations they make for other churches with less means or skills to borrow. So far we’ve seen Egyptian Sphinxes, the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, and I’ll have to look back through my photos to see if these columns were used in Rome several years back.
The kids begin each morning with a time of praise singing and a puppet show. One of the things I love about this church is they don’t divide kids up by grade/age. There are twelve tribes (in this case they used city names rather than the tribes of Israel) made up of kids from 1st to 6th grades—just the way a real family would be. Every morning they meet with their leader and have the opportunity to wear costumes just like the volunteers—sure it’s the same drape with a neck hole belted around the waist that they’ve worn for the last 4 years, but it really makes them feel part of the experience. And there are some servant ladies in the church who wash and repair the garments for the next year.
There are outdoor games, singing time, and visits with Paul, but the highlight every day is the trip to the market place. The first five minutes is snack time and then the kids are free to explore the shops. The volunteers have back stories—some believe in Christ, some are wondering who Paul is, etc.
You may notice in some of the pictures that there are a fair number of male volunteers. Some family men schedule their precious vacation time to serve at VBS and I think their presence makes a great difference –especially with the sixth grade boys.
If Schnickelfritz didn’t quite fill up at snack time there was always a possibility to sneak a marshmallow or two at Geometry School as they used them to build shapes with toothpicks.
Of course his favorite area is the petting zoo with puppies, bunnies, and baby chicks.