Vacation Bible School 2009
April is summer break here in Thailand, so this year Paul and I decided to do Vacation Bible School Camps for couple of the Akha villages in our area. While we played games, sang silly songs, ate snacks & did crafts, the highlight, for me, were the teaching times. The challenge of, as our old pastor used to say, "taking the cookies off the top shelf," or simplifying a Biblical Truth so that everyone (kids included) can understand it, was exhilarating. And, of course, doing it all in the Akha language made it even more exciting when I looked out and saw a glimmer of understanding dawn on those little faces. However, I think one of the best stories came from a moment when the kids where having a hard time understanding...
One of the teachings we did was based on the story of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18. We talked about how important each person is to God and that God loves everyone and seeks a relationship with everyone! After the teaching, we split the kids up by age groups to do the craft and work on the memory verse for the day. I was working with the older kids (age 9-13) and we were learning a separate but related sheep verse, John 10:27, 28. After repeating the verse several times, I asked the kids if they understood what it meant. They all stared back at me blankly (not even a glimmer of understanding!)
As I struggled to find the right words to explain this metaphor to kids who had never seen sheep, one of the kids piped up and asked a village grandpa (who was there repairing our roof from the storm the previous night and seemed to be enjoying eavesdropping on our little lesson) if he could explain the verse. Sure enough, he had the perfect illustration! He explained, "You know that if a chicken wanders off, and it's owner goes looking for it, the owner doesn't only look with her eyes, but she calls 'Ku Ku Ku'. And the chicken knows the sound of its owners voice and will come running when it hears its owner calling. We can know God's voice just like that chicken!" Simultaneously, the kids all had an "Ah-Ha" moment! Three cheers for Grandpa! This is what I love about living in a village; nearly everything is done with a little help from our friends!
In the end, we did a VBS in three different villages and ministered to about 90 kids (not to mention many parents and grandparents who hung around to enjoy the fun!) This was the first year we have done this and we were really pleased with it's success; I'm sure it will become a yearly tradition!