Monday, July 23, 2012

The VBS Zone

I don't know how it is, but there lurks in the innocent bosom of Vacation Bible Schools the capacity to suck up entire months of your life like some super-absorbent black hole. There you are, innocently strolling through June and suddenly, without warning, it's almost August. You have some vague memory of children singing and some sort of program, but other than that, it's like July disappeared!

We were doing the same program that we did for campmeeting, so there wasn't quite as much work ahead of time as usual. Which is a good thing, because I literally didn't start my main preparations until TWO days before VBS was to start. Every year I have VBS nightmares about waking up on the first day of VBS with no preparations done, but this year came entirely too close to that in my opinion!

In spite of an incredible short-fall of my human effort, God blessed as usual. What worries me is that each year I tend to give a little less preparation time than the year before. If this trend continues, somewhere I'm going to cross the line from faith in God's power to presumption!

I had a great group of helpers, including quite a few teen staff since these kids insist on growing up and all but one of them has aged out of the system. No problem. You turn 13, you're staff now. Tiggy is always a great group leader, and this year the two boys were the leaders of our Manly Craft station. They weren't too thrilled about hemming their masculinity in with crafts, but they pulled through OK, and did a great job in the process.

The theme of our program was "Truth Seekers", a look at how science and archaeology confirm the Bible account. Noni was Super Archaeology Girl, so I got to be the Science Person. I don't hate science, but we don't have a passionate love affair either. But it was fun to do the simple experiments up front each night. Well, that is every night but one.

That was the night we had a guest scientist.

Noni was supposed to do it that night, but she had a migraine. I don't work with fire...hey, I'm the person who was well into her teens before I'd light matches.... but my mom came to help us out because she is a professional. The idea is to take a flammable powder and hold it in your hand. If done correctly, a match can be extinguished in the powder. The lesson is that when we are in God's hands, we are safe, even when  fiery trials come into our lives.After making that point, she always contrasts it with what happens when someone is out of God's hands and confronted with those same fiery trials. A small amount of the powder is dumped over a lit match in her hand. When the powder is air-born, with ample oxygen supplies, it makes a controlled flash explosion always exciting to those who aren't expecting it.

And sometimes to those who are, as it turns out.

We had to get new powder this year because my mom hid hers during the move so no kids could find it and get into themselves into trouble. Now she can't find it either, so she ordered some new stuff off the internet. On the big night, she got up front and did her usual bit.  We're safe in God's hands as the match extinguishes in her hand. But if we're not in God's hands, when trouble comes......


She dramatically dumped the powder from her hand, but because of the fans blowing, it dispersed too rapidly and nothing happened. Hmmmmm. That didn't help the lesson any. She tried it again.


A small sizzle, but nothing of the dramatic nature that she was going for. Well, that was easily fixed. Instead of putting a small amount in her hand, she took the entire bottle (which was small, thankfully), prepared to dump until she got the effect she wanted.


I was standing off to the side, so I could still see my mom as she leaned back to escape the wall of flame stretching from her knees to above her head. She jerked the bottle away, but the flame followed her hand in a graceful arc. Sadly, I have no pictures. Even more sadly, I have no video. Not knowing it was going to be anything out of the ordinary, I wasn't prepared. It was all over in a second, but what a memorable object lesson. Not only will the kids always remember about God's powerful protection and being safe in His hands, but the adults will never forget, either!

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