Nearly twenty children participated in the 2018 Vacation Bible School at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Rosenberg. We were about the same number of adults who planned and delivered a Bible-based curriculum. Embrace the Fruits of the Spirit was developed by Global Ministries, a cooperative including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.
The Fruits of the Spirit curriculum is based on Galatians 5:22-23 “…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” That sentence became the chorus to a song we sang daily. Each day the boys and girls learned a different song to emphasize a gift of the Spirit. Vacation Bible School songs often include motions which make them easier and more fun to learn and sing. We played Caribbean music, too, and walked under a Limbo stick. (How low can you go?)
Children worked daily on a canvas which included symbols from each day. Oil pastels were used to create a visual for each of the gifts of the Spirit. Students helped one another make bracelets with buttons and string. Then, we worked to tie them around our wrists. Cisco Tucker made leather and clay character necklaces for each VBS child.
During the week at Vacation Bible School, young and old worked and played together in family groups. People discovered it wasn’t always the youngest who needed a hand. There were opportunities for listening and doing, watching and reading, writing and drawing, there were so many things to do. We drew cartoons to tell Bible stories. Everyone used their colorful maps to locate the Caribbean countries. Flags from the six nations hung near the sanctuary; we were often stumped trying to match the nation and its flag.
Prepared in our kitchen, daily snacks reminded the children we were studying Caribbean countries. Smoothies, fresh fruit including watermelon, wafer sandwiches and cookies were served during snack time. The mid-morning break was a learning experience thanks to the planning and the working in our kitchen!
Caroline, cousin to Ben, Phoebe, and Marie, was very helpful. She participated with a regular group during the week and on Friday she read a picture book from Colombia to everyone. Each day we looked at the life of a child in a different Caribbean nation: Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Colombia. Abigail, Marie, Makenzie, and Cisco read letters from island children. All the children loved using the microphone as we reported our thoughts to the large group.
Three mission coworkers from Colombia and Jamaica spoke via Skype to our students. We asked questions about where they lived and what they did in their mission work. Students asked questions about daily routines, food, weather, and pets. The coworker in Colombia shared the screen with his large cat. We learned local church missions in the Caribbean host Global Ministries coworkers who work in successful local programs.
Vacation Bible School is always rewarding for children and adults who participate. Promise yourself to be involved next summer!