VBS has begun and this year we are in Fairmont City, Illinois. We have partnered with a church that is looking to launch in the coming months. This VBS is the first one they have ever had, and we couldn’t be happier to help on the ground floor of this endeavor.
For the past three summers a team from FB Maryville has gathered volunteers from other churches in the area to provide free lunches to children at the park in the center of the town. It is a lovely park and the built in ministry opportunities abound. We already had a group to work with. The only challenge was to get them to come an hour earlier. Did I mention it was hot? The Midwest has had an eve wetter summer than we have had and along with it an unseasonably cool one. Last week it was 53 degrees and raining. On Monday the heat index topped 100 degrees! What a difference, but that didn’t stop our kids from doing their best. I think it should be pointed out also that humidity was invented here, or at least perfected.
One of the interesting aspects to this community is that it is largely Hispanic. Most of the moms that drop off their kids speak very little English. The Hanson twins have become our ambassadors, and have helped bridge that cultural barrier. What a blessing. Soccer also seems to be an international tool for building relationships. Our kids were happy to comply.
During the week of VBS at FBCSA the Chapel Singers learned the lessons, stories, crafts, and songs that they would bring with them. It is incredible to see them all engaged with the children.
Two other points of interest. On Monday evening we crossed the river to Maplewood, Missouri to help Maplewood Baptist Church run a block party for their community. Our students set up the entire event and ran all the games so that the church members could spend time with the people. Our kids are amazing.
As I have mentioned previously the theme for MCT15 is Gateway and prior to leaving for tour I gave each of the instructions to write down their own personal ‘Gateway Moments’. Throughout the trip I have had a chance to sit down with each of them and hear where it was that they first knew God was real, or perhaps where they experienced his love in a very powerful way. It has been a highlight of my tour to get to hear these testimonies. My hope is that by writing these experiences down and sharing them with me it will become easier to do with others. God is alive in the hearts of these young people.