This afternoon as the kids were practicing tonight´s skit, several of them began to laugh and Mariela snapped a picture of me and Mike. “What´s so funny?” we asked. Unconsciously we were squatting Asian style next to Andrés, who was pretending to be passed out. Our posture looked funny to our American students, but we told them this was quite natural after our month in China a year and a half ago, and we challenged them to test their own flexibility.
Ah, flexibility. Forget American Express, this is the one thing you should not leave home without.
We were scheduled to begin VBS yesterday, but the Amigos Church was booked, so we we started this afternoon. The wife of the pastor of the Central church and Sabbath School leaders told us they are VBS pros and want to be closely involved. Praise God! It is our wish to have a strong collaboration with the local church.
However, the schedule and location were wrong: they want VBS to meet at the Central church during the evening meeting. It would be unlikely for parents to bring kids to VBS and then come to the evening meeting. Others felt the evening meeting was too late, as the “V” in VBS isn´t true here—kids are in school till mid-April. And there was the issue of the skits: we present twice each night—in the Amigos and the Central churches. Adding VBS into that mix sounded complicated.
This morning a decision was made: stick to the original plan. But… when the church ladies came to help us get ready for VBS that afternoon, they explained the situation more fully. Children might not be out of school by 4:00. Distances are long and transportation difficult, so these ladies would not be able to get home to feed their families between VBS and church. We prayed about what to for the following days.
VBS went off without a hitch this afternoon. My students and I led song service—the kids love to sing and asked to sing new songs over again to learn them. Carlos spontaneously went to the piano and accompanied us.
Josh and I had a short monologue, followed by a little magic trick that introduces the topic. After the Bible story, children divided into age groups, and our wonderful Cuban sisters jumped right in. Ryan and Andrés showed how to make the “wordless book” craft that uses colors to tell the plan of salvation. The pastor and the national president of the Friends Church were both in attendance and loved the craft, which they plan to use in their Sunday Schools.
Marcel and Adonías led out in the game. I overheard one of the Cuban ladies bragging to a friend, “We won!” so not only the children enjoyed it! Mariela kept us on track for time. There were about 21 children—for our first day and considering the rain, it was a good turnout.
Mariela had met a little boy at the park and he was the first one there. He told her he hoped VBS would be at 7:30 instead of at 4:00 during the week, as he had 10 friends he wanted to bring, but they wouldn´t be out of school yet at the earlier time. We say God speaks through the mouth of babes, and we took his comment as our deciding vote. We will make use of our F L E X I B I L I T Y to do two skits plus VBS during the evening meeting.
[UPDATE 3/21/17--Dr. Ortiz just found out that we were running back to finish VBS after the Amigos skit and said we were doing too much and not enjoying the experience, nor having time to really relate with the young people, which was one of our main goals. So now we will just open the VBS with songs, backpack routine and Bible story and leave the workbook, craft and game to the VBS pros of the Central Church, which will allow us to stay with the youth at the Amigos church after our skit. I love Dr. Ortiz--he is a great leader and has a fabulous understanding of the importance of relationships.]