My uncle, who was a great gospel preacher, was traveling once in California. Preaching there in a gospel meeting, he met, for the first time, the local preacher in that California town. In casual conversation, my uncle learned the story of that young preacher. Raised in a non-religious home, he’d been invited by an elderly lady in his community to attend a Vacation Bible School at the local congregation of the Lord’s church. He had been given a little New Testament as a “prize” for attending the VBS as a visitor. That little boy grew up and married and, as is often the case without the Lord, began experiencing serious marriage problems. Before throwing in the towel and giving up on their marriage, the husband suggested that they try attending some church together. They agreed to go somewhere, but neither knew where to begin to choose a church, Then, this preacher remembered that packed away in an old foot locker, was his New Testament, given to him so long ago at that church where he had attended that VBS, as a kid. “Let me go get that and see what kind of church that was. We could try that one.” He looked in the front of the Bible, and sure enough, it was inscribed and gave the name and location of that church.
The rest is history. He attended, learned the plan of salvation for his life, and obeyed the gospel. He studied and learned more and more, attended Bible classes and eventually became a gospel preacher, expanding the borders of the great cause in the state of California.
I do not know if such a contact was made at the VBS that we just completed last night at the West Huntsville church. I do know that four amazing accounts of Biblical bravery and obedience were etched into the minds and hearts of a pretty big group of children. I know that they will never forget Jonah, Naaman, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I know one little boy who became very pumped about bringing visitors to hear these lessons. I know about a little train that choo-chooed up and down the halls, a candy bandit, a coloring contest and about little bottles of water from the “real Jordan” that the kids counted as a prize possession. I know about puppets that taught application stories from the lessons and about Cole the Mole, a rodent who helped facilitate the contests for knowledge at the end of each evening. I know my husband went from yard mower to ice cream maker, to Colley the miner, to Elisha and back to Colley and then to child taxi homeward each evening. I’m having a hard time getting songs like “Go dip in the Jordan” and “There is no God like in Israel” and “He was angry…Naaman” out of my head. I know it was a privilege to be a singing wave in the Pharpar river this week. I know it was amazing when we plodded right on through on Tuesday night with no power/lights in the building during that storm. (It was kind of perfect for the mining theme…hot and dark! And I loved that the video of that night was to the a cappella soundtrack of “Send the Light.”) I know it was powerful when a man, coincidentally made the decision to be baptized at the conclusion of the week’s events… and our children were privileged to witness this right in the middle of the ice cream supper in our fellowship hall.
I don’t know if this event will produce a gospel preacher one day. but I know as we sang in one of our Naaman songs “The power in the hand of God, nobody can ever tell.”
My granddaugher, who is lying beside me as I write this morning, just said “I really hope we can have another ‘Candy VBS, like last year.” Who knows? A girl with priorities!