Last week a group of women from our Tuesday night Bible study provided a Vacation Bible School for the children of El Faro United Methodist Church. 38 kiddos and 18 adults spent four evenings learning what it means to follow Jesus.

We turned jars into lanterns and made paper prayer chains. We assembled bags of toiletries to be given away at one of our local homeless shelters. We sang and danced to lively worship music. We lowered the apostle Paul over the wall in a basket and discussed how we can help our friends understand God’s love. We memorized Proverbs 4:12-13. We laughed. We prayed. We made and devoured our own awesome snacks.

IMG_0204I wish you could know my friend, Haroldo. He is the passionate visionary behind this VBS. This kind and humble man does landscaping work for a living and spends his extra time serving the church he loves. For several months, he led the people of El Faro to pray and fast, asking God to send someone to teach their children.

Some day I’ll write Haroldo’s story and tell you how we met. But for now, I want you to understand that this man absolutely made this VBS possible. Each day he stopped his own work early so he could be ready to collect the kids and transport them to church. He ran the computer for our worship music and constantly praised God for what He was doing in our midst. He moved from group to group assisting us when we needed his help. At the end of each evening, Haroldo returned the children to their families.

Time and again, Haroldo expressed appreciation, but each of us who served last week realizes we are the ones who benefited.

God was at work in our midst. We felt his presence when 38 children repeated a lengthy Bible verse from memory. We knew we were on holy ground when boys and girls rushed to be the one to retell yesterday’s Bible story. We heard him in the midst of happy VBS chaos. We saw him in the faces of the grateful parents who communicated their thankfulness in another language.

I’ve learned that any time you put aside your own agenda for the sake of serving others something happens inside of you. Your attention moves away from your own needs and problems. You gain perspective when you turn your attention to the Kingdom of God.

Last week, Haroldo and the people of El Faro church renewed my hope. This experience reminded me that God’s way of doing things tears down all kinds of barriers. Even in this angry and divided world, there is unity and love when the Holy Spirit moves in and through the lives of God’s people.

 

 

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