Vacation Bible School Attracts Local Families

“The joy of being found”—that was the theme of this year’s Vacation Bible School held June 30-July 4 on CCE’s Martin campus. Fourteen volunteers from Minnesota, North Dakota and Illinois participated in the mission trip, led by Pastor Paul Berge, director of the Vision Slovakia program at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minn.

Paul Berge, director of Vision Slovakia said: “This was our fourteenth year bringing the Gospel to children of Slovakia through Vacation Bible School and reminding them that they are children of God. Planning for next year’s program begins almost as soon as we return home.”

Comprising nine classes, more than 200 children ages 3 through fourth grades took part in the program, which included songs and prayer (in English and Slovak), a dramatization of the day’s Bible story, classroom activities, and crafts. The week culminated in a program for families, in which the children recited Bible verses and sang songs.

Jan Gilbertson, director of choirs at St. Andrew’s, has made 16 mission trips to Martin. What motivates her to return year after year? “We are blessed to be teaching VBS with our friends in Slovakia. Music is an important part of VBS. It is truly an international language. Music opens doors, opens hearts, and surpasses words.”

Assisting the Americans were students from CCE’s bilingual high school and the Bible School, who served as translators and all-around helpers in the VBS classrooms. “Some of our high-school helpers,” Paul noted, “were in our first VBS classes as children in the Lutheran Elementary School. It’s heart-warming to see them growing up—and growing in their faith.”

CCE leaders say Vacation Bible School is one of their most popular offerings: Every summer, they must turn away prospective students due to class-size limits. Additional weeks of VBS could be offered if more American volunteers were available to teach. If you’d like to learn more about teaching Vacation Bible School in Martin—teaching experience a plus but not a requirement—contact Paul Berge.
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