If you are not aware, each week of VBS we have a huge group of our youth serve as helpers during VBS. They serve as group leaders, music instructors, craft helpers and more. They do it with joy in their hearts and huge smiles across their faces. They lift up and support an army of little kids who are here to learn a little bit about the God we love and serve. It is awesome.
And then each day I take a group of them out for activities each day. Some are fun like a day of games and a visit to SkyZone on another day. Thursday we took a van loud of youth to do a service project in the rain (EVERYONE is pretty much soaked but no one complained). And today, we gathered for food, games and God at our end of the week lock in. And I am beat. Caffeine is no longer effective. I am not sure I can take another shriek, or scream or ball zinging past my head.
But I love VBS week and all its craziness. And here is why:
· I saw young women and men telling the story of God’s love to the next generation of disciples.
· From setup up to tear down, I did not hear a complaint about having to work. Each time they were asked to do something, they did it with a smile on their face.
· I witnessed friendships begin and grow within our little youth community. I also saw friendships bloom across decades which is even cooler.
· On Friday, we held our own prayer vigil. For an hour, our youth prayed for others whom they did not know. They prayed and sang and explored what it means to part of the Church.
· Numerous times, I heard of children and youth bringing friends from outside our church to a place they could hear the Gospel proclaimed.
But my favorite moment of the week occurred following our prayer vigil. A small group of youth stayed in the darkened sanctuary and talked with me. We talked for almost forty-five minutes. In those quiet conversation, a seventh grade girl struggled with understanding how someone could ever kill people within a church. The concept of such hate was so foreign she was brought to the edge of tears trying to grasp its reality. Some may see her struggle as naïve. Others would brush it off because she must be a sheltered child. But as I sat there, I realized I want the world to be like she sees it. I want such hatred and hurt to be so foreign it hurts. I want to be moved to prayer and action to help all in need and not be so jaded I drop into ‘it is what it is’ mode. I want to love my neighbor as myself. And not just my church-neighbors, or my daughter’s softball team-neighbors, or my family-neighbors. ALL.
And this is why I love VBS Week. Because each time I spend hours and hours with these ‘kids’, they open my eyes and heart to the Gospel more and more. I guess once again Jesus had it right all along.