Echoes From Last Summer

by Bob Gerow

My guess is that you have already begun to think about VBS for 2009. A Director has to be confirmed; the dates set; the materials ordered. You are also wondering how to get as many children as possible to attend and dreaming of the impact a VBS ministry can have on the child and their family.

While you pray and consider, allow me a reminder from across an ocean, about the difference a VBS program can make. The following came in from AMG Missionaries Ohene and Janet Kumi. With the help of a lot of volunteers, a few sponsors, and much prayer, they touched almost 8,000 children's lives last summer in Africa.

"This year's theme was Following Jesus'-taken from Ephesians 5:1. Here is what some of the children reported:

Vivian, a 14-year-old, told her class that she used to be very disrespectful to the elderly at home. When her friends cautioned her about her actions, she mocked them, too. Then she said, This Vacation Bible School has made me a new person because I have Jesus Christ in my heart.' She is changing her ways.

Muhammed, age 16, is from a Muslim family. He was invited to attend by friends. He asked a lot of questions on why we should follow only Jesus Christ, and was glad to find the answers as the lessons were presented. He voluntarily decided to accept Jesus Christ as savior after the invitation. He later said to his teacher, Although it was a very difficult decision for me to take, I am so happy. I believe I have made the best choice in life even though I will face some problems with my family at home. I know my teacher and the VBS organizers are going to pray for me and also they promise to visit me at my school.'

Gladys is 17 and physically challenged. She was saved at VBS three years ago and keeps coming to the VBS meetings year after year. She said she has learned a lot about Jesus and the need to serve Him irrespective of ones physical situation. I know the Holy Spirit is my strength.' She is especially thrilled with the kind of reception she received from all the other participants at VBS and wants us to keep organizing it as she hopes to be a volunteer teacher some day. Don't stop it because I want to bless other of what you have blessed me with.'

Andy is from a strong Christian home but was challenged by the lessons at the VBS this year, and realized he was not saved. He responded to the invitation and said, The VBS has enriched my life to get to a place where I now know for sure that I am a child of God and now want to Follow Jesus as He leads me day by day.' He was so thankful to his teacher and the organizers.

Silas has been teaching at our past VBS meetings and wrote this on his evaluation sheet. This year's VBS has been very helpful to me as I prepare the lesson to teach. On the first day I had 28 students, and the class number increased to 95 students Friday. I was frightened that the kids would not listen and looking around there was no classroom as the whole school building was occupied with young people. I prayed to God for strength and asked the kids to pray for me which they did, and they were all very cooperative. I gave the invitation every day and recorded 40 decisions for Jesus Christ as Savior. The difficult part is when I have 95 student work books to grade but got help from other leaders. This year has been great and I would like to teach again at VBS meetings, just invite me.'"

May God bless YOUR VBS program richly this coming summer, as you reach into your community and its families with the "Old, Old Story" of Jesus and his love.

If you are looking for a special project for your children and staff during VBS, feel free to contact AMG International. Ask to speak with the Missions department, and inquire about ways your group can help sponsor a VBS program for others in another part of the world.

Bob Gerow is development administrator for AMG International.

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