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Vacation Bible School: Seeing the Kingdom

Jul 19, 2018|Written By: Shannon Gillikin

For the last three years, I’ve been involved in a unique partnership between Abundant Life, Trinity Presbyterian Church, and the Prospect Prayer group. Together we plan and provide a free Vacation Bible School (VBS) experience for our young neighbors. This year’s VBS took place June 18-21, and it was amazing to see the Lord at work through the pirate-themed curriculum based on John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

AN UNEXPECTED HITCH

Months of planning go into making a week of VBS happen and as we gathered supplies and finalized last minute details on Monday afternoon, the Lord had other plans. A huge thunderstorm rolled into the area, causing a transformer to blow. There was no power at the “White House” where in just an hour we were expecting over a dozen children. “Oh no,” I thought. I texted our team of volunteers saying, “Meet me at the house anyway. We’ll go from there.”

As volunteers arrived, it was as if the lights were on in the house. Everyone was excited and enthusiastic about moving forward with the evening’s program, even without power. We quickly got to work rearranging, problem solving and coming together as the body of Christ to work as one. It was powerful and beautiful.

But would anyone come? We had 14 kids registered ahead of time but with sheets of rain pouring down and the lights out across the neighborhood, I wondered. Then the first cars pulled up, parents dashing through the rain to sign their children in. Fourteen kids came. Then 20. Then 25. As always, God far exceeds our expectations.

As I watched the children worship, I looked out upon a porch full of expectant faces in every hue—I was struck by the thought that THIS is the kingdom—many ages, many races coming together to glorify the One who is the way, the truth, and the life.

A FORETASTE OF THE KINGDOM

That was pretty much the story of the whole week. It was so beautiful to me to see each volunteer using his or her gifts—leading songs specifically written for VBS, creating craft projects to illustrate the Gospel, and teaching and encouraging children to get to know the God who made them. And the children—what a beautiful picture of the kingdom! As I watched the children worship, I looked out upon a porch full of expectant faces in every hue. I was struck by the thought that THIS is the kingdom—many ages, many races coming together to glorify the One who is the way, the truth, and the life.

We added a new component this year to finish out the week—a parent ice cream social. After VBS on Thursday night we invited parents to come pick up their children, enjoy ice cream sundaes and hear their children sing the worship songs they learned. Again, another rainy evening took over! But we had almost 100% of the families attend the social! It was a great opportunity to show families the joy their children had in worshiping and for volunteers to connect further with families.

It is a privilege to serve the God who was present here before VBS and continues to call our neighbors to Him after the week was over. I am so thankful for the picture He gave us of the body of Christ and the kingdom come.

Shannon Gillikin is a member of the Prospect Prayer Group and a long time Abundant Life volunteer.

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