This year's program had a secret agent theme to it. The music and choreography, as usual, were fun. They were very effective in conveying the message of the gospel to the children.
The three songs I chose to teach the kids and have them sing at the closing ceremonies are all the kind of melodies that get in your head and stay there.
I took some videos of the kids practicing but because of my personal policy of not making public images of any children without parent's permission I cannot share them with you.
Here are the links to the You Tube videos of each of them.
Agency D3 Theme Song
He Is Alive
More Than Just A Good Man
Although it was a pleasure and always a privilege to lead the kids in one of the most effective ways the Lifeway programs deliver the message of every program each year, it wasn't the best part of this year's VBS for me.
This year was the first year my granddaughter Aria was able to come to VBS.
This was a very new and confusing experience for her. She has never participated in anything like it before. Add to the the fact that she's not "a morning person" and you'll understand the reason for the somberness of the pictures I took of her at the beginning of the day. I took this one on Monday within the first hour of her arrival.
Luckily her mommy was with her to help her along. Here, during recreation time, she was either tired or bored while playing "duck, duck, goose."
Even though I was busy with other things, like teaching music and helping to count the offering, I took every chance I could to find where Aria's class was. I'd go by to say "hi". Sometimes I'd just "secretly" look in just to see if she was having fun.
As the week went along she got more and more used to the routine of VBS and started enjoying herself.
Thursday was "water day" at VBS. A local fire company brought a fire truck to the church to allow the kids to play in a sprinkler attached to a fire hose.
While waiting for the "go ahead" to get wet Aria had made a new friend, Stacey,the granddaughter of our friends Mark & Patty.
Even with Stacey holding her hand for support, Aria still wasn't too enthusiastic about going through the spray of water. Her Pawpaw decided to help by picking her up and walking through the water with her. She still wasn't too happy about it.
Although I saw her at different times during the VBS mornings, it was during lunch time that I had the most fun with Aria.
I'm not sure Aria will ever actually remember her first year of VBS but I sure will. It was great to see her every day. I'm sure she'll have a good time looking at the pictures and videos when she gets older.
Although I had Aria there with me and the kids were really into the music; at the start of the week VBS just didn't seem right to me this year. I just felt like I wasn't really putting anything into it.
By the middle of the week I decided that I was going to get more involved. I brought my puppet Cecil and did a little sketch for the kids each day. I only brought him out for my two younger groups: ages ranged from 5-7 years old.
In keeping with the secret agent theme I put Cecil in a disguise that first day.
For the last two days, I had Cecil bring a couple of guests. I used my puppet who looks like an orange. Of course, I called him "Agent Orange."
I knew that the 5 through 7 year olds at church were familar with and liked Cecil. They have for a long time. But their reaction to him this time surprised even me. They went nuts over him. They all wanted to talk to and hug him. They called out to him and asked him questions. It made me glad that I decided to bring him to VBS this year.
When I finished with the music sessions with all my kids I went back into the choir room where, Ginger, the Pastor's wife, was having music time with the 2,3 & 4 year old kids.
I let Cecil visit with them on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The last two days I also led them in singing a song about "the Wise man and Foolish man" while playing my ukulele.
I also used my slide whistle on Friday to play my special "up and down" game with them. It's very simple but the kids love it.
The closing ceremonies on Friday night wasn't the best VBS experience I've ever had. In fact it was rather frustrating. Difficulties in the tech booth, due to a recent switch of computers, made the kids' music presentation (normally the highlight of the night) rather awkward. But there was nothing that could be done.
But alls well that ends well because the sound techs in the booth got the music and video to work, somewhat, and the kids improvised as best as they could.
Besides, afterwards we all got to go down to the fellowship hall and have cookies.
Oakland Baptist Church had it's best VBS week ever this year. Sixteen children in the 3rd to 6th grade classes followed the 'ABCs" of the gospel that are taught every year and became born again Christians. (Praise The Lord).
I am so amazed at how well organized and smooth running the VBS program at Oakland has become. The leadership and commitment of Director Melanie Jones is the main reason for that.
Also, Denise Richey and her dedicated kitchen staff amazingly manage to serve a snack and lunch to a church full of kids for each of the 5 days during the week. They do a great job.
Throughout the week there was an average of 140+ kids in attendance each day and more than 50 adult workers.
Now I know that each of those adults could tell you about their own VBS experiences during the week. What you've just read was a little bit of the details about mine.
I was so happy that I could be part of Aria's first time at Vacation Bible School. I will never forget it.
It was a special year. One of memories and surprises. That's why I am always happy when I get the chance to help with VBS. It's always a blessing to me.