Well ... we made it!
Our Vacation Bible School came in for a smooth landing yesterday ... what fun-filled, song-filled, laughter-filled, Spirit-filled week!
In May, when I was up to my neck in end of school craziness and VBS recruiting and planning, my enthusiasm waned a bit. We were in the trenches and I was out of my comfort zone. As much as I wanted to hold on to my excitement, it was a challenge to look past the work to see the wonder of this ministry to children.
This past week, God blessed those hours and days of endless emails and phone calls with a beautiful glimpse of His passion for children and His joy when we are faithful to what He calls us to do. Here are a few snapshots of the week ... precious gems to remind me of God's faithfulness the next time my vision wavers:
- Fifty-some Pilots all dressed in their red, white and blue AWA shirts ... a unified group committed to sharing Jesus with our Passengers.
- One hundred and seventy Passengers milling into the sanctuary that first day and the wonder on their faces as they took in the Hangar ... complete with a cloud canopy, enormous plane silhouettes and a sea of expectant kids.
- The Aviator Band that led us in worship every morning ... complete with a leather bomber jacket, aviator glasses and two lovely stewardesses.
- Our passengers' enthusiasm for singing and signing. Loudly and passionately! Their favorite song, by far, was Remarkable ... it gave me goosebumps every time. (And yes, Kellum Kids, it made me cry a little bit, too. Leave your Mom alone.)
- The laughter and giggles as Lucy gaffed her way through the daily skits. I loved being corrected by 50 kindergarteners and first graders - "It's called a Monkey Wrench!" It was so fun to have little ones ask me throughout the morning important questions like, "Are you a real pilot?", "Do you have a real plane?" and "Were you really crying?" My favorite comment came on the last day when a little girl commented that I, "looked a lot like that Lucy lady." Awesome.
- Working alongside Betty, the stewardess from British Airways. Beth is certainly a method actor. She'll be driving her family nuts with her Mary Poppins-accent ... she can't stop now!
- The teamwork of our church to come together and successfully pour cement for 150 stepping stones in two hours. That knocked my socks off!
- Watching my boy "test" himself to know the signs to all the songs by standing with his back to the screen. He was so proud of himself, even if he looked a little discombobulated to the rest of the crowd. "The stage is that way, boy!"
- The volcano demonstration. Pastor Charles was using a baking soda and vinegar volcano to demonstrate the destructive power of sin. Like lava, our hurtful words and actions can hurt others. When he asked the Scuba Divers (K-1st graders) what comes out of us (like lava) that is bad, one little boy shouted out, "Barf!" Not quite what we were going for, but very true. :)
- The Mountain Climbers (4th graders - 11 year olds) acting out their verse of the day. They had to share their verse somehow incorporating the Matterhorn into their presentation. What a surprise to hear them yodel Daniel 2:20 ... "May the name of God be praised, forever and ever. For wisdom and power belong to Him!"
- The excitement of our Passengers when the learned their verses. Each morning the Pilots would listen to verses and punch a hole in their name tag. I loved have kids run up to me to show me how many holes they had under their name!
- How enthusiastically our littlest Passengers came into the Hangar each morning. They may have been trepidatious that first day, but as the week wore on, it was wonderful to see many of them running toward their group with their moms and dads trying to keep up.
- Handing out prizes on the last day. Each Passenger got to stop by the Gift Shop to choose a souvenir for the week. They browsed through a selection of colorful aviator glasses, glider planes, mini-beach balls and aviator rubber duckies. I couldn't help but laugh as each Passenger labored over which prize to choose ... "what to pick? what to pick?" The very last Passenger of the day had two choices: a glider and bookmark or two duckies. It took him five minutes to decide. Whew!
- The generosity of our Passengers and their families. During the week, our Passengers brought in canned goods and their precious pennies to give to Kids Aid. This group provides backpacks of food for at-risk kids in the Grand Valley who might otherwise go without food over the weekend. Our Passengers brought in almost 500 pounds of food and donated $155.12! Incredible!
- Seeing the slide-show at the closing rally. Watching the highlights of our week with our Passengers and Pilots was such a blessing ... smiley kids, snapshots of fun, memories of fun all set to the AWA theme song. Lots of goosebumps. (And a few sniffles, too.)
- The sweet and encouraging words from Pilots and Passengers' parents about the week. To hear about how much fun the kids and adults had all week was fantastic ... a fantastic reminder that when we say "yes" to God, He will astound us by working through us and do great and wonderful things!
What a great week! God truly is Remarkable and Incredible!