Thursday, August 4, 2016

John the Beloved Disciple

baby dedication
On July 13, my sister Joy and my dad arrived in Huejotzingo.  We visited a few fun places together, and they also helped preparing for our VBS.  On Sunday they attended church at Dios es Amor with us, and we had Leilani´s baby dedication.

July 18 - 23 we held VBS at our home, with the theme of John the beloved disciple.  For the fourth year in a row, we developed our own curriculum, a process which requires many months of work scouring internet resources, writing, and planning.

Abish feeling awful
As with last year, we woke up to a feverish Abishael on Monday.  It was his first sickness in all 2016.  Because he was in pain from achy joints, and because the fever was not going away even with the homeopathic medicine treatment, we chose to modify the first day of VBS.  Volunteers from Dios es Amor and two neighbor friends took over games and snack while my dad drove us in our neighbors´ car to the kids´ doctor in Puebla.  Our very social Abish cried disconsolately over not being able to play with his friends.  Both Abish and Lani, it turned out, had throat infections, and the doctor gave them a new treatment which soon had them both feeling better.

reviewing worksheets and preparing
On Tuesday Abish was no longer feeling bad, so we swung into full VBS mode.  At noon the children began to sign in, and the day´s focus of Jesus calling John and James started out with songs.  Once most children had signed in, we split the groups into ages 1 - 6 and 7 and up.  The young kids went to the patio for snack of fishy crackers and for verse practice while the older group took to the street for games.  The groups switched places, and then we all met together inside for a few more songs, announcements and welcome, and a visit from special guest Zebedee (played by Abraham).  Again the young group went to the patio where they made a fish mobile with the day´s verse and then completed a page to help them remember the day´s story.  Inside, the older group worked on slightly more complicated versions of the same.  At the end of the work time, we all briefly returned indoors to review, and then it was time to go home at 3.
Joy saying goodbye on Wednesday

Abraham dressing as James
Wednesday´s story was told by James (again played by Abraham).  The children learned about Jesus´ transfiguration.  The schedule followed the same order Tuesday through Friday, with the two groups sometimes together and sometimes divided, and everything from games to snacks, songs to crafts, and verses to work pages serving to emphasize the story of the day.

On Thursday James and John´s mother (played by me) told the story of Jesus´ trial, death, and resurrection and of how John stayed faithfully with Jesus throughout Jesus´ trial and death.
little kids´ craft
 Friday´s visitor was a lady from the church John wrote to in 2 John.  She urged the children to obey God´s command to love each other.

Because of the change on Monday, our VBS ran through Saturday.  In addition, we decided to hold the finale on Saturday rather than on Sunday afternoon as we had done in the past . Our last visitor, played by our neighbor, was John himself.  He told about Jesus´ second coming and said that we should be vigilant as
keep watch
we wait for him.

Four parents arrived for the finale.  There was some chaos as we shepherded the children inside, reviewed the week´s stories, and called the children and volunteers up for diplomas.  Finally, each child received their gifts and filed outside for the cake and juice donated by two parents.

most of the young group
older kids and their diplomas
little kids´ games

don´t lose the balloon

older kids´group finishes tower first

the youngest participant

our debt is paid
In total we had 42 children, ranging in age from not-yet-two (Leilani) to 18 years old.  Our busiest day had 34 children.  We were blessed with the help of several people from church and a Christian couple who live near us.  Thank you for your prayers for us in the work of putting together and hosting this year´s VBS.  Please pray that the messages of the Bible conveyed through the VBS would continue to impact the lives of the children and their families.