By Lara Greene, Director of Children’s Ministries
It was another full and blessed VBS week for FUMC this year! We hosted 123 children, ranging in ages from three to eleven years. The primary purpose of Vacation Bible School is to incorporate themed activities that entertain and engage children to open the opportunity to learn about God. It is a short-term event that can have long-term results for both the children and the adults that participate.
We pull out all the stops with decorations, food, games, songs, science experiments, Bible re-enactments and crafts so that:
- Church kids and their friends can spend time together and build relationships
- Children build lasting memories associated with Biblical truths
- Participants feel an action-packed level of excitement for God and Jesus (of which we all need reminding)
- Relationships are begun and/or strengthened with those serving together
- We can worship with abandon in a child-friendly way our sanctuary
- Our children can dig in deep with mission opportunities. This year, our VBS Mission projects for our friends in need included:
- 100 thank you bags for FUMC volunteers
- 80 appreciation bags for teachers at Pickle Elementary
- 300 Manna Bags
- 130 hygiene bags for our Feed My People neighbors
- Hundreds of books for Pickle elementary book drive
- Cash collection for The Zoe Project
- And this was our first year to have our Service Squad – a special team of our 3rd-5th graders who worked all week on learning about and planning for our involvement in The Zoe Project.
We can only pull this size of a ministry off with our more than sixty adult and youth volunteers (including five ELS students). Some were able to spend only one morning, others all week, but everyone gave their whole heart. Huge thanks go to our coordinators, Katie Kaighin, Sarah Wheat and Sarah Whitley who organized and inspired us all.
Thank you to our amazing youth who served with and were role models for our young disciples:
Paul Blome, Erin Boyd, Abby Buchanan, Devon Cato, Kaleigh Cousins, Alexander, Drazic, Evan Drazic, Miles Drazic, Cade Dulaney, Olivia Frangenberg, Abigail Gerber, Elizabeth Gerber, Campbell Goss, Caroline Greene, Lucy Hamre, Ben Hattaway, Max Hoff, Belle Hubert, Patrick Hubert, Peyton Ivey, Karsten Ivey, Madeleine Novinger, Heather Schuelke, Ryan Schuelke, Tom Strandwitz, Will Strandwitz, James Waggoner.
Thanks to the adults who shared God’s love: Julie Ballato, Ben Battle, Kim Battle, Suzanne Barnard, Daniela Barros, Tim Bayliss*, Jennelle Berger*, Jennifer Bevel, Kim Block, Courtney Bourlon, Jane Bowen, Emily Buchanan**, Emma Calhoun, Martha Calhoun**, Sherry Carroll, Ming-I Chang, Jen Cooper, Kaycee Crisp*, Susannah Crowell, Laura Lee Daigle*, Amy Davis*, Edla deSilva Martin, Sharon Doss, Melanie Dow*, Carrie Dulaney, Clairlea Ekert, Meisa Ezekiel, Taylor Fuerst*, Judith Funke, Emily George*, Kayla Greene, Jennifer Gius**, Tamra Golden*, Marilyn Good, Marijo Hartman, Howard Harman, Emily Hines, Summer Hoff, Leslie Ivey, Liz Kilday, Jim Kaighin, Daviss King**, Bob Leeper, Nancy Leeper, Rebecca Leonard, Jialing Liu, Kathy Morales, Michael Mumme*, Elizabeth Pittman, Stacy Prentice**, Brenda Prothro, Jennifer Rieck, Erin Scarth, Justin Scarth, Amanda Severson, Debbie Shaw, Stephen Spears, Jenna Stephens, Cathy Stone*, Chris Story, Leslie Story, Ben Thoma*, Whitney Thurman*, Debbie Watt, Alex Wheat, Dan Wood, Rebecca Yohe, Ann Young. (*area leader) (**group leader)
And thank you, FUMC, for your prayers, your donations, your patience and your support. This one week in the summer is a special and unique time during our year when we can throw open our doors and our hearts to our children and the Austin community. We actually had to turn away families because we were full this year! Help us to broaden our capacity and our reach by planning now to be here and sign up to help in some way. Plan to be part of the excitement – see you the first week of August 2018!