Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Moments of VBS...

Wow...Vacation Bible School is over. It seemed a whirlwind leading up to it and then another whirlwind living through it. But a good whirlwind! Every day was an opportunity to ask God for an extra measure of grace, patience and much joy! 

We had many new faces this year, but some faces we have seen for the last 5 years of vbs! I so loved watching the anticipation on their faces every new morning. 

"I brought my Bible today!"

"I need my name tag because nobody knows my name!" (every morning Ms. Sandy was faithful to pass out fish sticker name tags for all the children)

"I brought a "friend", my poppa, Poppa Smurf!"
(Thank you for coming Poppa Smurf, we really enjoyed having you;))

The little ones have so much energy and they are so excited for life. After a couple of days, they loved us freely, even though some of them come from very broken and hard homes. The first day of VBS, three brothers registered, but every one of them had a different last name.

In a blog post we put up near the end of last year, we told everyone how we get day old bread from our nearby Publix. We have 2 very specific trailer parks we are able to help through this bread. And not just bread now. We have gotten to know the lady at Publix who oversees the day old bread every weekend. Not only does she give us bread now, but at times we get canned items and pasta too, soap, some shampoo maybe, crackers and chips. We are able to box these up and go door to door with food. Over time, Dad has built a bridge to the people who live in the parks. The children will run out of the trailer homes, some with windows completely missing and stuffed with sheets and no air conditioning, yelling: "The bread dude is here!" or "The preacher's here!" Some days, they are barefoot and very dirty.

This week, we learned the names that go with the faces of the children who call our Dad "the bread dude". This week, we grew to love them. We heard a little of the children's lives. We listened as they told us how scared they were one day when another boy in the neighborhood threatened them with a knife. And he, just as young as they were. Picking them up in the morning sometimes meant waiting outside on the front porches littered with cigarette butts and beer bottles, listening to angry, yelling parents inside. Some days they had no food, and we began to carry granola bars with us for them to eat on the way.

We brought bright colored hair bows for the little girls one day and two of them let us braid their hair. One little girl had broken flip-flops she wore every day. Our hearts went out to her perfect contentment in her broken shoes. We were able to buy a cute pair of pink flip-flops for her. Her eyes sparkled all the way home that day.

Dad was our "bus man" and would regularly pick-up and take home 7-8 children each day. They grew to know our blue van as "the bus" and one day as they were piling in for the ride home, our Luke, not understanding, took off towards the van faster than I've seen him do in a while! He raced to the front seat, reached his big hand over the head of the little boy about to climb in, pulled open the door and said in his deep "Luke-ish" voice: "I get the front seat this time!" (Luke loves the front seat!) They stared at each other for a split second, the little boy confused, until I called Luke away and explained to him that Daddy was taking them home first, then we would go home. Then he was perfectly fine with that! I laughed there on the sidewalk at my big "little" brother. He was completely comfortable with the children all week, and they with him. I loved that.

Thank you to all who prayed for us this past week. Three little boys asked to receive Jesus into their life. We are so happy for them and ask for your continued prayers as we reach out to them. They are the most precious little guys. Their lives are hard ones. Not filled with unconditional love and the protection many of us may have grown up having. Please keep these little boys in your prayers.

These little faces will always, from now on, be recognizable to us. We spent valuable moments in their young lives. I know it was not in vain. Because they may remember. One day, the children may remember the Bible stories, or maybe the food, or maybe, maybe, just the love...


Here are some of our favorite moments from last week...

 Our dear Ms. Emma Jean ready to pass out coins in return for a "Thank You!" She is so passionate about life and The Lord Jesus!

 Our faithful Kitchen Crew.

 Finding the Lost Coin in our dessert!

 Poppa Smurf with his grandchildren:)

Lilly's new flip-flops:)

The children...

Some of our wonderful volunteers! Thank you all so much for your hard work and loving hearts!

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