School’s out, vacation is on — and the Bible is definitely in. It’s time to mark your calendars and pack your beach bags for FUMCFW Vacation Bible School (VBS). At 2016 “Surf Shack,” kids will have a chance to catch the wave of God’s amazing love. They will become surfers as they explore how to serve God’s mission for their lives. Our Children’s Ministries are calling, “Surf’s up!” and who says VBS is just for kids?
Ron White, longtime First Church member and grandfather of five, is heavily involved in many FUMCFW activities. He has been a faithful member of Choral Union, Room in the Inn volunteer, Kids Hope USA mentor, and more. “I am involved in a lot of things purposely,” he says. “It makes me feel good to do nice things for people.” However, he points out that he particularly likes working with children. He taught Children’s Academy Sunday School for several years, and he is approaching his fifth year as a VBS volunteer. “It’s truly one of my favorite weeks of the year,” he adds. “In the gathering in Wesley Hall where we meet in the morning and practice our songs and dances, there’s so much enthusiasm and excitement about what’s going on that it’s infectious. I love being there and doing that with those kids — it’s just fun.”
Ron says his grandkids love VBS and his youngest, Bo, still listens to the music with him because it makes them both feel so good. Although it is even more special for Ron to share this experience with his grandchildren, he makes a point to get to know other kids while volunteering. “I am just so flattered that the children know me when I show up and are glad to see me,” he admits. “They come their first day and they’re kind of uneasy, and then when they get comfortable I find it very flattering that I can have that impact on them — to take a child from nervous and scared to excited about being there.”
Ron says that he considers it an honor to stand beside all the children in the Sanctuary on VBS Celebration Sunday. “I have to say I feel a little noble about being there,” he reveals. “I like being associated with them, lining them up, being down front — it’s a really exciting time for all of us.” Ron recommends VBS for anyone — grandparent, parent, or not — because “it’s a spiritually uplifting experience to be there with those children and the excitement that goes on there.”
As a Texas Rangers dugout reporter by night, Emily Jones McCoy says that volunteering at VBS is a great start to her day. “I’m very busy during baseball season and I want to spend as much time with my kids as I can before I go to the ballpark at night,” Emily points out, “so it’s a great way to experience VBS with the kids and still be able to help the church in a way that I thought was very worthwhile.” Emily attended VBS herself and is continuing the tradition with her two children, Henry and Hattie. “I attended VBS growing up in various churches and always thought it was a very important time in the life of our church, and also for people who aren’t members,” she proclaims. “Giving back to children is the best way to give back.”
Emily says that her favorite part about VBS is interacting with the other kids. Since Henry is 5 years old and Hattie is nearly 3 years old, being around different age groups gave Emily what she calls a look into what she can expect in future years. “It gives you such perspective on daily things and the big picture, and they don’t even know they are doing it,” she explains. “It’s a chance to slow things down and be in the moment for a few hours each morning of the week, which was really good for me personally and spiritually.”
The first year Emily volunteered she was a teacher in conjunction with another parent, and last year she played the lamb in a Bible story presentation. “It was the first day and I was a little nervous because kids can be extremely honest,” she recalls. “I wasn’t sure how convincing I could be, so them laughing at me attempting to be funny felt good and eased my worries for the rest of the week.” Emily says that it was really fun and adds that there is something for everyone to do in different capacities. “I made a very good impression with my lamb skills, so I may be looking into acting when I’m done with baseball,” she jokes.
On a more serious note, Emily describes VBS as a great experience overall. “I loved it!” she exclaims. “I felt it was gratifying for me because you felt like you were giving back to a church that has been so good to you, and you are also helping reach those who may not otherwise know God. I was thrilled to be a part of such a great thing.” On top of how rewarding it is, Emily says that she can’t say enough about how much hard work our Children’s Ministries staff puts into organizing VBS. “The people who do all the heavy lifting work so tirelessly giving of their time and gifts and energy,” she adds. “Volunteering is a relatively simple way to impact the lives of our church, our mission, and the children in our community.”
According to Emily, it is an easy and painless opportunity to make a difference, and she thinks it is definitely worth the time and energy you put into it. Her advice? “Do it for the kids because that’s what it’s all about, do it for the church because it’s been so good to us, but also do it for yourself because you’ll find very quickly that the good you do for others makes you feel good about yourself.”
2016 VBS is July 11 – 15 from 9:00 am until noon, and we always have room for more volunteers. Sign up to catch the wave. Click here to register as an adult or youth volunteer. For more information, contact Mister Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 817/339-5097.