Asbury United Methodist Church in Fort Payne, Ala. had a wonderful Vacation Bible School this year, June 6-10. They had about 100 participants, including helpers and kids.
They used Group’s material titled Egypt: Joseph’s Journey from Prison to Palace, and experienced a different set up and schedule than they had ever done before. Helpers were encouraged to dress up like Egyptians, and kids made Egyptian headbands and collars, which helped create a fun and creative atmosphere.
Laura, a child who participated all week said, “My favorite part was the music. I learned a lot about Joseph’s life in Egypt. It was fun!”
Each day the children gathered in the sanctuary for Opening Celebration, a brief time of worship and celebration. Then, they split up into their Family Groups- classes with different names like Asyut, Rosetta, Giza, and Amarna. During Family Time, children learned Bible points like “God gives us hope,” which comes from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…to give you a future and a hope.” The children also had their snacks with their families during Family Time.
After Family Time, the children visited “Egypt”, where they went to the Pyramid Playground for outside playtime, visited Joseph to hear about his journey from prison to palace, and explored the Marketplace Shops where they made crafts and participated in fun activities like petting real animals in the Animal Courtyard.
Meagan, a child who participated all week said, “My favorite part was the Pyramid Playground when we wrapped people up in toilet paper to make them like mummies.”
Andy Curtis, Asbury youth and choir director, did a wonderful job playing Joseph. His wife, Melanie Curtis, transformed the choir room into the Prison and then Palace for the Joseph’s Journey times. She said, “I thought this VBS was very imaginative, and I think the kids enjoyed learning more about what it really means to serve our One True God.”
Evangelism and witnessing was emphasized greatly throughout the week. While in the Marketplace, children were encouraged to share their knowledge of the One True God with the “pagan Egyptians” who ran the shops.
Anna Keefe, who was the Egyptian salon owner, said, “I really enjoyed getting to play a role and have fun with the kids while they taught me what they were learning about God. Some of them did an amazing job explaining why the One and Only True God is better than any and all other ‘gods’ that people try to follow. I think this way of doing VBS was great because it allowed the kids to think and to immediately put into practice what they were learning.”
Throughout the week, during the Joseph’s Journey story time, the children interacted with Ramses, the guard. At first, Ramses was rough and mean and did not believe in God. He said he had many gods. But, by the end of the week, Ramses had learned enough about the One True God from Joseph and the children that he decided to come and worship Him at the Closing Celebration. The Egyptians from the Marketplace Shops had too!
Pastor Ron Gilbreath said, “It was a different Bible school this year than we’d done before. The children really got involved and excited about converting the Egyptians to Christianity.”
Missions was emphasized in the Marketplace as well. The children made blankets to send to Africa in the Linen Shop, which was run by the only shop owner who started out Christian.
Each day ended with a closing Family Time and Closing Celebration where the children reviewed what they learned, sang songs, and listened to announcements to get ready for the next night. Each night they also paused for “God Sightings.” During Family Time children were encouraged to think of evidences of God such as a sunset, a laugh, a smile, their friends, and animals. The children wrote the sightings on paper designed to resemble bricks, and during the Closing Celebration, the VBS leader helped the children post them on the pyramid that was a monument to honor the One True God, the God of Joseph.
This particular VBS taught the children a lot about the Bible and God’s power and faithfulness. It also gave them a great exercise in witnessing to those they encounter in daily life.
Traci Rigdon, VBS director said, “The thing that blessed me the most was hearing the comments from the parents saying the kids were getting up every day excited and asking when could they come.”