You never know what will happen when teaching kids.
Teaching a Bible Lesson, Missionary Story, Bible Verses and singing songs... kids may just hear or interpret it just a little different than you planned!
Listen to some of the great stories that come from kids and teachers in our Happy Day Clubs and VBS's!
At the close of each Happy Day Club, Lead Teachers are asked to complete an evaluation of their year along with a written “highlight” of their club year. Sylvia and her team, co-teacher Faith Axman, Lynn Etherington, and Terry Evans experienced a year with 36 kids from Kindergarten through 6th grade in a “borrowed” classroom. We thank our faithful Savior for the Word of God that was taught and the harvest accomplished!
Our Happy Day Club year began with 36 attending club at Hawthorne, with 10-12 of them being 5th/6th graders. Most were new to Happy Day Club. Other years these older children drop out after a couple of weeks, but not so this year. God wanted them to there to hear everything!
We had some discipline problems—mainly talking and walking around. Our director came to visit first of 2nd semester and then sent us a list of suggestions to help. One was how to arrange chairs in 3 sections, We took it a little further and had children choose red, blue or yellow sections by drawing a colored paper out of the bag. That made 3 teams and we had a contest the rest of the year to win a pizza party. Points were given for attendance, Bible verse memorization, being the helper, quiz, and quietest team each week.
This really helped the problem and we had some great Wednesdays and a good pizza party for winners the last day of school!
There were usually two school teachers in the room for about half of club time. One of them had signs on the front of her desk asking us not to “touch” anything and not to “move” anything. We tried to comply with her wishes. Sometimes I had the chance to say a few words to her. But I don’t know when she took the signs off her desk and became friendlier. Then I noticed her really beginning to watch and listen as Faith taught the Bible lesson. The other teacher asked one day if she could join us in prayer.
We never know how or to whom the Lord wants us to minister! “To God be the Glory!”
By Mr. Caleb - VBS Summer Missionary 2015
One time we were performing the story of Josiah and one of the requirements was that we perform a silent skit with three little kids while a teacher narrates. Well during the skit at the point where Josiah was supposed to be terribly upset about finding God's law and realizing how much the people had sinned, a little boy, playing the role of Josiah, jumped off his throne (a folding chair) and slapped his hands against his face in a shocked expression. Of course the whole room of kids died laughing. And though it was a bit distracting it was well worth it.
By Ms. Sarah - VBS Summer Missionary 2015
Short staffed and tired, "roller skating" through my Bible verse and Bible lesson for the second group, the older kids at People's Bible Church, saying probably less than half of the wonderful stuff written into the curriculum, I gave an invitation for those who would like to find out more about believing Christ for salvation, to come with me during the missionary story. SEVEN children got up and came! I sent two of them back after determining that they had already asked Jesus to be their Savior. Good thing I got training on "filtering questions!" The two boys were my students at New Paris. Maybe they wanted some attention from Mrs. Yoder. Or maybe they just were tired of sitting in the story area! I asked the remaining five children questions about their understanding of sin, and whether they thought they were sinners. One of them, who happens to be at one of the schools I sub for, whose name was very familiar to me, as to everyone else there, because he is the kind of kid who makes school staff wish they had never gone into education, raised his hand. "I sin. I have sinned a lot. Sometimes when I didn't mean to. But a lot of times when I did." Wow! I led the kids through the awesome little tract that CEM has made, for counseling those who respond to an invitation, and I tried to reinforce that they shouldn't say they want to accept Christ because their friend next to them does. In the end, five children prayed and placed their trust in Christ!! I told them how happy I was and led them through the back page of the tract, where they learn that they will still sin, but they can confess it as soon as the Holy Spirit calls it to their attention, and he will help them learn not to sin. Oh how intently my fourth grade "troublemaker" was listening! I am still pinching myself, to imagine how the angels are rejoicing ! Praise God for showing that when we are weak, he is strong!! The People's Bible Church staff are praising, too, as they have poured themselves into that troubled neighborhood boy, hoping for this day. They are ready to follow up with these kids and do discipling. The Word is bearing fruit.
By Ms. Sarah - VBS Summer Missionary 2015
One night at VBS at my home church, two girls responded to my invitation for counseling. One, "Trena", was the sweet, seemingly care-free neighbor girl of our pastor's family. She told me right up front that she had prayed to ask Jesus to be her Savior during the Bible story! The other was a Ukrainian girl, "Naomi", who had attended our Awana program for the last three years. I had assumed she was saved, as she was very well-versed in the Scriptures. She told me that night, "I'm not sure if I'm saved. I mean, I go to church and Awana, but I don't remember ever inviting Jesus into my heart." I used a friend's illustration of, "Just like going to McDonald's doesn't make you a hamburger, being in a church doesn't make you a Christian." I questioned the girls about their concept of sin, and they both knew they were sinners. Throughout all this, Naomi's 4-year old brother, for whom she had been 'babysitting' throughout the week, was huddled in the pew with us, trying to get his nine-year old sister's attention. I gave him one of the tracts we were reading and he drew on it with a pencil. His sister totally blocked him out - she was so intent on her search. When we got to the part where the girls were asked if they wanted to receive Jesus' gift of salvation, Trena affirmed that she just had. I rejoiced with her and said that we'd pray together. Naomi was struggling. At first wasn't sure she was ready to take that step, then decided she was. Praise the Lord! As we bowed for prayer, Trena prayed spontaneously, thanking God for saving her. Then I prayed responsively with Naomi, asking Jesus to make her heart His home. As we raised our heads, I rejoiced with them and reassured them that Jesus will never leave them! We read through the back page of the tract, about the fact that they will still sin, and how to grow in their new relationship. The two happily rejoined the group as Linda finished the missionary story.
At the end of the evening, I told our pastor's wife about Trena's decision. She said, "Trena once told me, 'My father doesn't love me. I never see him.'" How amazing, that the Holy Spirit so effectively convinced this child that she had a Heavenly Father who loved her and wanted her to be with him forever!
When Naomi's mother came to pick her up, I asked her, "Has Naomi ever accepted Christ as her Savior?" I thought that maybe she had as a younger child, but had just forgotten. Her mother just kind of smiled and said "I don't know." I told her, "She did tonight!" The woman's eyes welled up with tears and she said, "Thank you!" The investment of Naomi's parents, her Awana teacher, and many others had brought her to that point of decision!
By Caleb - VBS Summer Missionary 2015
One time I was teaching the verse, which was Psalm 119:11 and I was trying to explain to the kids how they need to hide God’s Word in their hearts and how that would help them be able to use the sword of the spirit. As an introduction I asked the kids if they liked to play hide and seek, most of them raised their hands. Then I asked if they had ever hid something inside themselves, I was expecting no reply but one of the little girls sitting in front immediately said, “I can hide candy inside myself.”
By Sarah – VBS Summer Missionary 2015
My favorite VBS so far has been the little Riverside Bible Church, a beacon of hope in a very modest, working-class neighborhood on the north side of Elkhart. Instead of the typical young-parent-age church members staffing the VBS, our hosts were about eight people in their 70’s and 80’s, plus two or three early-twenty-something young people, one of whom was a former VBS missionary. The old people had such a desire to reach the children of the neighborhood, and had gone door-to-door with pamphlets and invitations for the VBS. They repeatedly thanked us for coming to their church and they often encouraged me in my story-telling, saying they enjoyed listening. Our participants at Riverside included many returning children, some who asked if they could still come, even though they were not in middle school and entering high school! Linda was glad to have them. One of the children was a poorly-behaved five year old, whose mother sat through each night’s program, but failed to keep him in line. He represented a huge challenge, but throughout the week, we saw answers to prayers regarding him and his mother. (That’s a story Linda will have to tell!)
Also included in the 30 some children who sat in the pews of the musty-smelling, stained-glass-windowed sanctuary were four girls from Florida, ages 8-13. Their family was going through some sort of difficulty, and they were living for the summer with the son of the church’s pastor. The aged man and his wife drove an hour from Warsaw each night, faithfully bringing these girls. One of the older ones had been rather sullen at the start, but by the end of the week, she was asking to help in any way she could.
On Tuesday night, around the end of the teaching/story time, four boys, ages 7-12, were ushered into pews by Barney, who had pulled them in from the park across the street! They were given Bibles and then participated in the craft, snack, and games. The next day we arrived at the church an hour early. Already these same four boys – two sets of brothers, who were cousins – were there, with their Bibles!!! I chatted with them and told them we’d soon let them into the church, when the hosts arrived. When they were allowed in, I could tell they were hungry for the truth of God. Linda told me she and Caleb would set up, that I should continue talking with the boys. We sat in the pews and all four of them gave me their attention, asking questions about God, Satan, and Jesus. They wanted me to help them find scripture passages in the new Bibles! Later that evening, when I gave an invitation after the Bible story, two of those boys, and six others, came to find out more about being saved. Two children were sent back to the missionary story after my “filtering questions”. That night I had the joy of praying with six of them to accept Christ as their Savior, two of them from that cousin group! The ten year old boy had really struggled when asked if he wanted to accept that free gift described through the back of the tract. I rejoiced with them and reassured them that their Savior would never leave them! Then I asked if anyone wanted to say a “thank you” prayer, as I could tell Linda was almost done with her story. Three children shot up their hands. I called on an eight year old girl. We all bowed our heads and she prayed, “Thank you, God, for my house … and our food … and for giving me what I needed in my heart!” Those four boy cousins kept coming to VBS, and on the last night, the 12 year old also gave his heart to the Lord. I am amazed at every child God has called to himself through this Child Evangelism Ministry! It’s not your usual summer VBS. Our team consists of one very experienced director, one younger than normal missionary, and one way older than normal missionary. But God is proving that he will do above and beyond what we ask of Him, to save his beloved lost lambs!