Monday, June 18, 2012

One Amazing Week

I know I'm really behind on blogging.  But I have a good excuse.  Three little letters . . . V.B.S.  Mason and Hannah Kate watched as, during the past three months, our dining room became Amazing Wonders Aviation express.  Decorations and crafts and curriculum and toys were piled up everywhere.  They could hardly contain their excitement.  They absolutely Vacation Bible School.  And I guess it's a good thing.  Because when Mama is the director, that means that her life becomes pretty much consumed with VBS during the final weeks leading up to the big event.  So much so that, at one point, Hannah Kate asked me what I was doing and before I could answer, she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh.  I know.  That's for Vacation Bible School."  But we do love us some VBS around here.

This year was different.  It was the first year since 1999 (with the exception of 2005 when Mason was born) that I didn't lead the music rotation.  The music was so good this year, so fun.  But it was more important that, at 35 weeks, I not go into labor!  At this point, I'm still not believing I made it through the week.  I crashed Friday afternoon, and I feel like I'm still trying to recover.  But it really was an awesome, amazing week!  I'd been looking forward to it for so long.  And I feel like this is one of the best Vacation Bible Schools we've ever had.  It was so evident to me during the months leading up until now that God is at work in our church, in our community.  Sometimes I get frustrated and discouraged because it seems like it's just the same old thing . . . the empty spots in the pews at church, the family and friends that aren't there week after week.  But just because we can't "see" it doesn't mean God isn't working.  Because He is!  And if we want to see it, we have to be a part of it.  We have to jump in and join Him.  He's calling us to serve Him.  He's calling us to be His hands and His feet to a hurting, dying world.  I got to watch His hands and His feet at work in my church last week, and it just absolutely blessed my socks off.  Here are just a few of my favorite memories.

Worship.  There's nothing like watching children participate in worship.
Our snack ladies did such an incredible job this year!  They made banana planes and spent several hours transforming cupcakes into fish.  We had Northern Lights pudding cups and ding dong suckers.  Mason was really digging the snacks.  And, obviously, Braden was really digging the kool-aid!

Yes, that is a hot pink cast on Abbie's arm.  I've not had time to blog about it, but Abbie broke her wrist a couple of weeks ago.  Please say a prayer for her.  We're hoping she can get a waterproof cast really soon, but it just seems to be healing not as quickly as we thought it would.  And it's summertime.  So she hasn't been able to go swimming or play in the water.  Have I mentioned it's summertime?!  But she's been such a sweet trooper through it all. 
One of the things I've really wanted our youth to do is participate in a hands-on missions project, and my in-laws made that happen this year.  They assembled care / snack baskets for many of our local service providers, like the library, volunteer fire department, tourist center.  They delivered them on Friday, and I have no doubt it was a blessing to our community.  The smiling faces as they received their baskets were priceless.
The music this year . . . was so much fun.  The favorite was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  This picture was taken at Family Night and just cracks me up.
This year Hannah Kate was finally old enough to be in a "real" class.  And she loved every minute of it!  She came home with some of the cutest crafts and projects.  Mrs. Cierra did an outstanding job with our pre-k class.
And our kindergarten class . . . I had the pleasure of teaching the Bible story to them the first three days.  And then I turned over the rest of the class to these two sweet girls.  Again, this was such a blessing to me.  My first VBS at our church was in 1999 when I was here as a summer missionary.  And these girls were two of "my kids" at the time.  B was 12 years old, and D was in kindergarten herself!  And now, here they are teaching a class.  That's what it's all about!
Another blessing, perhaps the best part of the day, is seeing how happy and excited and full of energy the kids are.  They are happy and excited and full of energy about learning about Jesus!
Here's our pre-k class, Hannah Kate's class.
And here's our kindergarten class.  Another sweet friend, a "new" friend of mine, taught this class the last two days of VBS.  She, along with B and D, really blessed my heart.
Here is Mason's class.  This past year he moved up to the 1st grade Sunday School class, which meant he had to leave his beloved Mrs. Martha behind.  But she was his VBS teacher this time so he was really excited to be in Mrs. Martha's class.
We had an awesome 3rd/4th grade class.
And our 5th/6th grade class did such a great job at Family Night.  They used glow sticks to demonstrate Romans 6:23.
And the youth class . . .
In case I didn't mention it earlier, Hannah Kate loved her VBS class.  In addition to all of the crafts and activities and games and Bible stories, they also played with play doh, drew with sidewalk chalk, blew bubbles . . .
When I was planning the crafts for the kindergarten class, I couldn't help myself.  There were several activities that involved painting.  At first, I was hesitant, but I new there was nothing the kids would love more.  Here is sweet B after one of our painting projects.  I just love this picture!
Another of my favorites is our penny offering.  I call it that . . . but we also get dimes and nickels and quarters and sometimes dollars.  We used to have a competition between the classes to see who could bring the most change, not from a monetary standpoint but from a weight standpoint.  Last year I decided to do things a bit differently.  Instead of having the classes compete against one another, I labeled each bucket with a picture of one of our adult leaders and asked them to fill the bucket of the person they most wanted to throw a water balloon at.  My picture was on a bucket last year.  On the last day, my father-in-law beat me by 5 pounds.

One thing I've learned is that I don't need to start something that I don't intend to do year-after-year.  For example, I rented a water slide for Family Night three years ago.  And now I can not NOT have a water slide for Family Night.  And now the same goes with the offering buckets and water balloons.  This year, my picture was not on a bucket.  But J's was.  And she was the target this year.  After a week of VBS, her bucket had been filled with 103 pounds worth of coins.

On Wednesday alone, her bucket contained $125 in coins.  It took our treasurer and three other people over three hours to count the money on Wednesday.
At week's end, we collected over $1,300, all of which will be used to support ministries and missionaries in our state, in our country and also internationally.  We donate 100% of our VBS offering to missions.

And here they are all lined up and ready to throw water balloons at Mrs. Jessica.
We started with the pre-k class and then let each class have a turn.

I can honestly say that the past couple of weeks have been so overwhelming . . . but overwhelming in the best kind of way.  I'm just overwhelmed at God's goodness and His provision and His love and His mercy and His BLESSINGS.  I love VBS.  The best part is that kids get to hear God's Word.  They hear it in the Bible stories, in the music.  One of our Sunday School teachers was on vacation yesterday so I helped out in the children's class.  One of the verses we read was one that we actually sang the words to in one of the VBS songs.  All of a sudden, one of the 3rd graders proclaimed, "Hey!  I know that!  I sang that this week!"  That's what it's all about.  VBS is, hands-down, one of the most important, most evangelistic ministries of the church.  And I'm so proud to be a part of it year after year.

So, yes, I love VBS.  But, by the end of the week, my ankles did not.  Now.  Considering how embarrassing this is, I'm posting this picture anyway.  This is what my feet and ankles, or lack thereof, looked like on Thursday evening before Family Night.  

I've gained 10 pounds in fluid (yes, 10 !!! . . . guess I should really be thankful for the weight I lost at the beginning of this pregnancy! . . . cause I'm sure making up for it now!) during the past week, all of which is settling from my knees to my feet.  It's become very uncomfortable, to say the least.  Even my flip flops and sandals are too tight now.  But the good news is that my blood pressure is still relatively low, and I don't have any symptoms of preeclampsia.  Four more weeks.  That's it.  I feel like I'm so close but so far away!  Tomorrow will be a fun day though.  I have a sonogram scheduled tomorrow morning.  I can hardly wait to see what baby B looks like now!  I've never had a sonogram this late in pregnancy.  So I should have some new baby pictures to post tomorrow!  Until then . . . my cankles and I are going to bed.

1 comment:

The Applings said...

AMAZING post! We also LOVED VBS this year - such fun! And you know I love me some cankles :) The countdown is on now, so stay off those fee! Love you!