I’ve been thinking a lot about Vacation Bible School lately. Seeing the banners at churches we drive by has caused me to go back a few years in my mind.
I loved VBS. I mean…I absolutely loved it. I loved the stories, crafts, memory verses, all of it. I especially loved the people who worked so tirelessly. All women, of course…at least to my recollection. And, back then, VBS went 2 weeks! I’ve helped and taught in many a VBS in my life and believe me…after a week, all of us were ready to go to bed. But these ladies from my childhood made it seem completely chore free. I don’t remember one helper being cranky.
It was always the same, year after year. A lesson, memory work, a craft, music, play time and cookies with Kool-Aid. O yes, the sugar….2 cookies and Kool-Aid. Homemade cookies…and real Kool-Aid. No pyrotechnics, no big show, simply good old Bible stories, passages of scripture to memorize and pictures to color. And we can’t forget the projects made out of macaroni and/or Popscicle sticks 🙂
Those of you in my home town of Lamar, Missouri will, no doubt, recognize some of the names of some of those I fondly recall. Many of them have gone on “Home” but their teachings remain. So, in no specific order, here goes.
Jewel Gardner. She had a gift of making missions come alive to a child. Jewel took real life happenings and facts and wove them into a story that captured the attention of a room full of wiggly grade schoolers. I remember her voice, her mannerisms and her love for what she did.
Betty Gilkey taught VBS as well as my Sunday School class when I was little. She is probably the main reason I came back to the Lord. She showed love in a way that melted my heart and filled a void that was left by the destruction going on at home. She was beautiful, inside and out. Blonde hair, that I always thought was perfect. A smile that beckoned. She was the most encouraging teacher I ever had.
Roberta Braxdale was always there as well….I think in crafts. I can’t remember who the craft ladies all were, but I remember a high-heeled shoe I covered with macaroni and then they sprayed it with a gold glitter paint. Oh yes. My mom displayed it for a long time. Probably longer than she wanted to.
Cookies and Kool-Aid were always right outside the door of the fellowship hall. A huge metal container of red, orange or purple was poured into little cups…way too little for me, unless it happened to be green. And homemade cookies on a napkin.
VBS filled 2 weeks of my summers, every summer, until I was too old to attend. After VBS in the morning, we would all end up at the city pool in the afternoon, or on Wednesday we would ride our bikes uptown for the matinee. Double feature with the Three Stooges for an interlude.
Thank you to all the fabulous, tireless teachers who helped to shape and mold my life and view of God.
I’ll say it again. Your love, your scripture teachings, the songs I sang, the Bible verses I memorized…they all were part of drawing me back to the precious love of our Lord and Savior. You were a haven in my chaotic world.
For those of you who aren’t sure of the impact you’re having, or if you just get tired and wonder if you’re doing any good in the lives of children…wonder no more.