A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of helping out with a Vacation Bible School held here in Ukarumpa, for the children of surrounding villages to come to and learn about the Armor of God! The VBS was done entirely in Tok Pisin, and I had a lot of fun using my new language skills to help with music, skits, and recreation.
*playing soccer with the 5th/6th grade girls
Below, is a summary of the five-days of fun, written by the coordinator of the VBS. Enjoy!
The program this year centered around the theme “Klos Pait bilong God” (Armour of God). It was held Monday through Friday mornings at the Teen Centre, 7-11 January, 2013. Children from all over the valley and as far as Onamuna Village came to Bible school this year. The children were divided into four color teams, with 3 age groups within each team. Banana bread and water were served immediately after each child received their tongue depressor, home-made name tag. They played games outside until the doors opened. They came into the Teen Centre in a very orderly way with their team – something to behold! Each day, a child from the valley opened the assembly in prayer, followed by praise and theme-related songs broken up in the middle by a skit and puppet show, all led by Ukarumpa International School students and leaders. The kids marched, hopped, clapped and cheered for Jesus. The Bible lessons, which included a number of dramas performed by both SIL community members and valley Sunday school teachers, were focused on Bible stories which illustrated the intended use of the various pieces of the armour of God. For example, Satan tempted Jesus, but Jesus used the truth to stand against the temptations! King Josiah wielded the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and believed God, both receiving and walking in God’s righteousness. Paul and Silas wore their Good News shoes in Philippi. King Jehosaphat and the Army of Judah believed God for victory over their enemies and their Saviour won! And the early church prayed fervently for Peter to be released from prison and God provided a miracle. After the Bible lesson was finished, the children broke up into their small groups of 20 – 70 children and rotated through three activities of 25 minutes each. The three activities were Bible verse memorization, outdoor games and application time. By the end of the week, most of the children from every age group could quote a good portion of Ephesians 6:11-18 with hand motions included. During the application time, they learned how to apply each of the pieces of armor with real life situations presented to them and drew on or colored a take-home paper which was designed to replicate the lessons learned so that families in the valley could participate in the teaching as well. Outside, they enjoyed active games which reinforced the lessons being learned with some of the UIS students and high school teachers. Yes, they got muddy due to the 10 inches of rain received during the week! To close up the program each day, the children came back together for more rousing music, a drama and an invitation to receive Jesus as their Savior or to pray with a teacher about whatever was on their hearts. By the end of the week, we had a record of 70 children / young teens that had asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and had put their trust in Him. That’s 70 budding soldiers in God’s army wearing the armour He provides. God answered many prayers.
200 loaves of banana bread – enough for the average of 520 children who came each day, plus one loaf for each volunteer who came from the valley. (Biggest day, Tuesday, with 575 children registered.)
600 donuts on Thursday
48 UIS students involved in some aspect of the program
3 helpful visiting volunteers, including the Clark grandparents and an MK from Okapa
24 teachers from the valley from 12 different churches
21 teachers from within the Ukarumpa community
20 other adults helping with logistics, photography, videography, puppet team and script recording, food serving, registration, leadership or material preparations.
That’s about 110 people involved, plus all of the BAKERS that provided all the switkai!
What now? Decision and attendance records will be delivered to the churches in the valley so that children can be followed up with by the church leaders. Sunday school and Sabbath school teachers who were involved plan to review the material in their Sunday and Sabbath schools. In just 6 months time, we’ll start gearing up for next year’s VBS. The dream is that 3-4 Bible schools will be held simultaneously in surrounding villages. Please pray that dream into being.