I never had the chance to attend VBS when I was a child. I suppose they had VBS back then, but I never went. My family’s church attendance was sporadic during my childhood, but my parents were Christians.
There was a time when I lived with my uncle, who was a preacher, and his family, and that was longest that I ever attended church regularly. I attended church camp with his daughter one summer, I suppose that was their version of VBS.
When I was in my mid-teens, my parents and I finally began to attend church on a regular basis. I joined the church, and was baptized when I was sixteen. I attended church regularly until I married my husband and moved to the city. After that, my husband and I alternately visited his church and my church we came home on weekends.
Several years later, when our children were still small, my husband and I became members of a small Baptist church after we’d moved back to our hometown. It was at that small church that I first experienced VBS. I was a teacher’s helper for the primary age group. I absolutely loved it, from the first day! I think I enjoyed VBS, as much or more, than the children did. I was sad when it was over.
A few years, and two churches later, my husband and I became members of his childhood church. While my husband always knew, it took some time and searching for me to realize the place that God wanted us to be. Religion had been an issue in our marriage since day one. While we were both Baptists, we were different kinds of Baptists, and it took a while for God to lead me in the right direction–and have me willing to follow.
Eventually, I became a primary Sunday School teacher, and assistant youth leader in our church. I’d never forgotten how much I enjoyed VBS the year that I helped with it, but this church didn’t have a VBS program at that time. One night I asked about VBS at one of the circle meetings, one thing led to another, and the next thing we knew, we were planning to have VBS. Since I brought it up, I was put in charge, along with my friend, Wanda, who was the junior Sunday School teacher.
We had our first session of VBS that summer, and it was very successful. My husband, who is very handy, helped me transform a corner of the church annex for each one of the years that our church hosted VBS. Of course, each year had a different theme, and we decorated according to the theme. The only theme I can still remember is “Camp Can-Do” and the verse Phillipians 4:13. I still have ” Can-Do Bear”.
Brandy, Brett, Brad, and their cousin April dressed in t-shirts for VBS cir. 1991
I would also buy colored t-shirts in packages, remove the pockets from each one them, then decorate them with VBS iron-ons. Sometimes I had help doing this, sometimes I didn’t. Each year our t-shirts were different colors, and we wore them for the closing program. This was before it was so easy to order designed t-shirts like people do now–oh wait, I’m telling my age!
My husband had a very old, but very large Suburban truck at the time. I would load up our own children, then drive to town to pick up any children who needed a ride. By the time I got to church, I had a load of kids, and the children were having a ball! There were always willing teachers, cheerful helpers, Bible lessons, arts and crafts, plenty of refreshments, and lots of fun times.
Those years of VBS are among some of my favorite memories. My daughter and I sometimes talk about how fun it used to be. I eventually had to give up my church duties when I became ill. The church had VBS one more time after I stopped doing it, and they haven’t had it since. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many young people in our church these days. Our church’s children attend VBS at other area churches, and they attend our own church camp.
Yes, I love VBS. I’ve never forgotten the excitement of it–or all of the work involved–or the reward and satisfaction that I felt when it was all over with. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to experience VBS, even if it was as an adult. Everyone should try it at least once!
Thanks to Linda @ http://www.mochawithlinda.blogspot.com for making me walk down “memory lane” about VBS. I’m also linking up with Java @ http://www.nevergrowingold.blogspot.com where the over 40 bloggers like to hang out on Fridays!