I just finished a week of volunteering at Vacation Bible School at Calvary Baptist Church. It is a highlight of my summer. I love working with my church family during VBS. Roxie and I have been helping out at VBS at Calvary since 1988, that is thirty years. VBS has an immeasurable impact on children in the community. The majority of children that attend VBS at Calvary are community children. Recently, a 30-year-old mother, who has two children, related to me her fond memories of attending VBS at Calvary when she was a little girl and how she always felt loved there.
I didn’t attend VBS or Bible camp when I was young. I have two vivid memories of something like VBS, actually not when I was a child, it was when I was a teenager. I believe I was in 7th and 8th grade. I was a Catholic and went to St. Michael’s Catholic school in Madison. I loved that school! A group of boys from St. Michael’s, including my best friend Dan, always enjoyed going to Crosier Seminary in Onamia Minnesota during the summer.
We had so much fun during that week. Swimming in Lake Mille Lacs was a fond memory. I remember playing a lot of sports and having a rigid routine. Morning devotions and Mass was required. In fact, at the end of the week, you were brought into an office and asked if you might be interested in becoming a priest. I was very interested in going into the priesthood. As I went into high school, I actually seriously thought about going to seminary. But I had a problem. I liked girls too much, especially one girl named Roxie! So that was the end of that.
The other memory was when I was a junior in high school. I got involved with FCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. School teacher Jolly Carlson was the leader and took us to FCA events around the upper Midwest. That was the first time I heard professional athletes profess their faith in Jesus, and how a Christian should live. The personal testimonies from athletes really had an impact on me. They continued to talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus. They were different. In fact, that is when I really started reading the New Testament. Years later I would make that decision to follow Christ, and understood what those athletes had been talking about.
I wonder if the kids that attended VBS this past week will remember what they learned when they are adults. Will they have fond memories? Will they have felt loved by Jesus and us, like the mom? Will they remember the Bible stories? Did it build their faith in Jesus? Maybe attending VBS will spur someone to be a missionary. VBS is a very important ministry that churches do. You never know how it might affect a child’s life.