Thursday, January 21, 2016

More pictures from La Escuela Biblica Vacacional (Vacation Bible School).

“Marcharemos en la Luz de Dios”

Last week La Transfiguración hosted a Vacation Bible School. Around 20 kids from the community came to participate. The children ranged in age from 8-15. The overall theme of the week was “Encontrando a Dios en nuestro alrededor,” or, “Finding God in the world around us.” Each day had its own theme that related to our overall theme. Using Bible verses we used discussions and activities to attempt to understand our overall theme.

Monday – Humildad y Fe: Amar a Dios y ser respetuoso (Humility and Faith: Loving God and being respectful)

Monday started of slowly. The program began at 9 in the morning and only one student showed up on time. Christopher, in fact, showed up early. He was the only student to show up on time the entire week. I had opened up the church with Eunice Vassell, the senior warden at La Transfiguración, around 8:45 and was very excited to begin the week. As I sat there sipping my coffee the students slowly started coming in. The first day we had only 5 students. I had worked with Blacxenia Ashley to develop the lessons for the week. Blacxenia is a teacher in David, a city around five hours away. She is in Changuinola visiting her mother while the schools are on vacation. She agreed to help teach with me and develop the lessons for each day. The first day was a simple discussion with the children. We introduced ourselves and explained why we were there. The discussion turned toward how loving God and being respectful can be a means of finding God in the world around us. How can we love God? How can we be respectful? What does it mean to be humble? What is faith? While these questions are difficult for anyone to really talk about I was impressed with the older students who fearlessly attempted to answer these questions and discuss how they perceive God working in their lives. We ended the day singing several different songs.

Tuesday – Evangelización y Proclamación: Compartiendo a Dios y ayudando a los demás (Evangelization and Proclamation: Sharing God and helping others)

On Tuesday more students showed up. This time around 12-15 students came. We began the day with a discussion. The discussion was about how we share God. Is it easy to talk with others about God? If so how do we do so? When sharing with others how do we do it? When can we share, when is it appropriate?  So it was important for us to define where we share God and who we share God with. After the discussion we divided the children into two groups. The younger children made drawings about places where we share God and the people who we share God with. The older kids paired off and they analyzed various Bible verses and answered questions about how the verses related to the theme of the day. After both groups were done we all came back together. The younger children presented their drawings and the older children presented their verse and the answers to their questions. The day ended with singing.  Blacxenia led the whole group in singing “Marcharemos en la luz de Dios,” (We are Marching in the Light of God).

Wednesday – Ecumenismo: Amistad con Dios y con otros (Ecumenism: Friendship with God and with others)

On Wednesday around 15-20 children showed up. Before we began the day’s discussion we had a brief review of the previous lessons, to remind the children why we were there and what we had been learning about. The daily discussion was about what it means for people to work together, and how it is important that even though we share God (Evangelization) it is just as important that we respect other people’s views and work together in friendship. They answered questions about why it was important for people of different faiths to work together and how they could do that. The older children then created collages based on the Bible verse that they were assigned, as well as what came up in the discussion. The younger children worked on a drawing based on friendship. We ended the day singing “Marcharemos.”

Thursday – Perdón y Empoderamiento: Haber sido perdonado por Dios, perdonar a otros y cambiar lo que necesitamos cambiar (Forgiveness and Empowerment: Being forgiven by God, forgiving others, and changing what we need to change)

On Thursday around 15 kids showed up. This day began a little differently. Instead of ending with singing we started the day with it. We sang several different songs. Specifically “Marcharemos,” because we were planning on having them sing that song on Sunday during the service. After singing, we started the daily discussion about Forgiveness and Empowerment. It was a brief discussion because the majority of the children were younger and we decided to shift the focus to an art project. We had them identify several key factors of Forgiveness and Empowerment, write them down on a piece of paper, and then decorate the paper.

Friday – Review and Preparation for Sunday

On Friday we had around 15-20 children come to finish out the week. We began by reviewing the week, and discussing all that we had learned. After the review we finished up any art projects that the children wanted to finish to show their parents on Sunday. After that we prepared for them to sing “Marcharemos.,” to the congregation. We also worked on a short skit for them to perform on Sunday.

Sunday – Service

Sunday service began at 10. Since we did not have a priest we began with a morning prayer and the readings. After that Eunice Vassell and I introduced the children and explained to the congregation what we had been doing all week. The children were sitting in front of the congregation. Family members and the normal congregation were in attendance. After our brief introduction we had students stand up and talk about the week. They explained what our overall theme was, and what our daily themes were. They then explained what they learned and what kinds of things they did during the week. After they all presented a day, we had them stand up and sing. Blacxenia Ashley led the children in singing “Marcharemos, both in Spanish and English. Unfortunately I only have pictures of the performance, but I was able to record one of the practices. I will post it. After the service the congregation was invited to have lunch with the children. I hung the artwork of the children on the walls so that their parents and the congregation could see what they had created during the week. During lunch the children performed their skit for everyone. It was a great ending to a wonderful week.