Saturday, July 14, 2007

Alaska Missions for Christ Vacation Bible School

We have spent the past week (June 9-13) in Ninilchik at the Lindeman Family ranch where they hosted a Vacation Bible School. Alaska Missions for Christ recruits teams from all over the country to go to Alaska for a week and present vacation Bible schools to preschool through 8th graders. The Lindeman's have hosted this the second week of July every year for the past 15 years. This year the team was from Indiana. The teams range from college students to adults. Mission members have to pay for their own airfare, food and the Alaska Missions organization. AMC use the same VBS programs that are used around the country. This year's theme was a western round up.
Most of the kids are from the Ninilchik area, but the Lindeman grandkids and other friends of the family end up coming and spending the week as well. There were 30 guests staying at the ranch this week, filling up all the rooms and guest houses, as well as in RVs and a tent (us!). Each day for 3 hours, and additional 50 kids came (for a total of about 60 youth per day) and sang songs, did crafts, rode the horses in the arena during breaktime, and learned about Jesus. On the final day the Lindeman's host a lunch for all the children and their families, serving grilled salmon, hot dogs, chips, and lots of desserts! VBS is an annual event that children in the area really look forward to and come to year after year.
The Lindeman's play host to the VBS staff (there were 12 of them this year), taking them on outings in the afternoon and evening after the kids are gone. This year, Doug and I helped out as tour guides. I took a few staff with me on the Skyline Trail hike one day (see another blog post about that.), while Doug took another group on a tour of Homer. Another day Delores drove with us as we headed to the Russian Falls.
The weather was cool and overcast nearly the entire week, but everyone took that in stride and dressed to be outdoors all morning. Luckily, the rain held off. The sports that involved squish water balls were definately not designed for this type of weather in mind!
The general format of each day was to have a half hour opening in the pole barn 9:30-10:00(hay bales set up for seating). There was an ongoing story that a couple VBS staff acted out each day, and there were lots of energetic, aerobic-like songs to wake us all up. Each day a child was asked to say the opening prayer (Denver did so one day, and thanked God for "the energetic songs we sing"!), and then they broke into 4 groups: preschool, 1-3, 4-6, 7-8. The groups rotated among 4 stations, with a half hour break after 2 stations. It ended with a 30 minute closing. Safeway in Soldotna donated all of their day old bakery items, so every day there were incredible treats for the kids at break.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I love you blog so far. I am one of the people who helped lead the Vacation Bible School, and it was amazing. The kids looked forward to Vacation Bible School like it was their birthday. What a great witness for God's love! I look forward to continue to hear about your life in Alaska. Sara