Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation Bible School
This summer I have volunteered at two Vacation Bible Schools at my church. I was the craft leader and had the opportunity to see all the beautiful crafts made by the children of our church and community. Throughout the week I found myself thinking of Vacation Bible Schools in the past, particularly the ones in Uganda last summer and I couldn't help but thank God for his provision.
Photographed below is merely an attempt to display one of the most awe inspiring days of my life. The whole scene was surreal. We drove through what is commonly referred to as "the bush" to get here on what some people might consider a road- think Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland :) Upon arrival to the first circle of huts we had seen in a while, we were greeted by the tribal chanting from one of the women. We walked into a small, dark, one-room hut and as our eyes slowly began to adjust we could see the shining whites of many eyes staring back at us. The room was filled with children wide-eyed at the large group of white girls who just entered their village. Some of the children had never seen a white person before. The moment was National Geographic-esque. We were told we had to move outside to make more room for the children. *Side note- as we prepared for these Vacation Bible Schools, we were often given an estimate of how many children would show up but the key word is estimate. We were sometimes told between 20-200 kids would show up... super helpful :) * So we go outside and were literally staring at hundreds of children. At this point in the trip we had all learned Africa's favorite word, flexibility, and dove right in.
Some of the children wanted to show us their village's well so we went on a walk (about a mile) to see how these young children gathered water for their family.
The clouds of Africa are hard to capture in a photo but believe me when I say that they can make any walk seem like a special journey.
I could obviously go on and on about these few days in this remote village but LONG story short, we eventually left... and our van was chased by children as we went.
*Taken from the back seat of the van*
Now fast forward a year and here I am working at a VBS in not only the United States but Orange County, California. It's safe to say there were differences.
In Uganda, I walked a mile with a child to learn how he collected a jug of water to carry (a mile back!) to his family. And now I've heard a child complain because the drinking fountain is too far away.
In Uganda, I watched seven year olds carry their brothers and sisters to our VBS, unattended by any adults, only to walk them home later. And here I've seen the organization it takes to make sure that all children are safely dropped off by their parent and checked in to their group leader.
The differences are vast but one thing is very much the same... God provides. And when we work through his spirit and his power, we are going to see the fruit of our labors.
In Uganda, I saw many many children make decisions to follow Christ.
In California, I heard a story of a boy who understood that Jesus could take away his fears.
God provided at all these Vacation Bible Schools in so many different ways. He is faithful and He is oh so lovely.

I hadn't really thought about that village in a while and the Lord just laid it on my heart tonight. This has turned into a mega-rant but if you're having trouble sleeping tonight (guilty!) then pray for these children. Children in Uganda and children in America and everywhere in between.