Last week, four capable, well-trained, college-age staff members from a Christian Camp came to our church and led a VBS/Day Camp for elementary-aged children. The staff taught the kids fun action songs, helped them memorize a Scripture verse each day, and led small group Bible Studies. In addition to all that, there were craft activities and game time.
We also had a preschool class for three to five year olds that met for two hours each morning. A couple of us “grandmas” helped the pastor’s wife with the nine active children who came daily.
Mid week, the children performed their songs and recited verses together at a local senior care facility. It was impressive to see how much the children had learned in just a few days, and touching to watch them greet the residents of the care center afterward. After months of planning, it was gratifying to see it all come together.
The staff members are earnest young Christians who are dedicated to sharing God’s love with the children. Although they do an incredible job, it’s no easy task dealing with active children. Many are from “unchurched” families and they have no idea how to behave or respond in a church setting. The “way of the world” is already entrenched in their young lives, and some are downright rude and disrespectful. The team, as well as the adults who are involved each day, struggle with feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and weariness. We need and appreciate the prayers of our congregation for the staff, the children, and others who serve in some way during our VBS/Day Camp.
At the final program, the children sang songs and recited Bible verses for the parents, grandparents, and others who came to hear what they learned in VBS/Day Camp. A few brave campers took the microphone and answered questions from the staff, like “What’s your favorite part of Day Camp?” or “What did you learn this week?” It was encouraging to hear several respond with, “I learned about Jesus, how he loves us, and that he’s with us all the time.”
That’s why we do this, why we drag our weary bodies home each afternoon and collapse in our chairs or take a nap! Much time, energy, prayer, and planning go into this week. But to hear what the children learned, see their excitement, and listen to their anticipation of next year, makes it all worthwhile.
The Bible reminds us in Galatians 6:9 (NIV) “…not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Just don’t ask us around Day Three or Four if we’re doing this again next year! Give us a little time to rest and regroup. Then we’ll be able to recount the blessings, and the rest will diminish in our memory. Kind of like parents who watch their sleeping children to remind themselves how precious they really are, and what a wonderful gift God has entrusted to them.