Today started off normal, although we were missing a few of the kids today because they had planned to not be there. We started with our donations for the clean water for the peoples in India. The kids were very generous in their offerings. We reviewed the lessons from the previous days: the lepers cleansed, the samaritan woman, and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Today was the part of the Gospel where Jesus dies on the cross for the sin of humanity. The Bible point was: Even though you do wrong… Jesus loves you!
The kids had their regular stations today of crafts and games along with singing/dancing, skits performed by our team members, and pictures taken for the slideshow. They made witnessing bracelets, unique animal hats, and pretended to have a snowball fight with crinkled paper. The game represented the vanity in trying to rid ourselves of sin and be righteous without God.
With the story in VBS today, our team felt a stronger connection to our work here. The cross is where we really learn a lot about the weightier matters of Jesus’ life here on earth, about how he came to be a prophet, priest, and king. He was sent here to proclaim God’s Word and Kingdom, to offer atonement for our sins, and to rise and reign forever. From this lesson, we learn what it meant for Jesus to be a servant and to give His life for His friends. In serving God, we serve the Authority that can forgive sins and raise the dead to life.
Something special and different today that I thought was neat was that the children signed their names on a wooden cross. The cross was then wrapped in Christmas lights. The children’s crews were asked to ‘throw’ their sins into garbage bags (telling lies, saying mean things, etc.) While singing “God Loves Us So,” the trash bags were draped over the cross to block out the light. Jesus (Luke) came in and removed the bags to show that He takes the place of sin. It was very powerful.
After the kids trickled out, we were treated to an afternoon of fishing with Pastor Steve. After each purchasing a fishing license, we met a short distance away on the outlet of the ocean. We were provided rain jackets and life vests upon climbing aboard the boat, and set out near a small and shallow estuary for close to 7 miles out to sea. The water was a little choppy and we opted for a shorter distance of around 5 miles, so with our live fish bait we tested our skills. We saw several wildlife including: sea gulls, tern, puffin, jellyfish, sea otter, and even a bald eagle and some jumping salmon. Luke was chosen as the fisherman with a catch, reeling in a decent sized halibut. We had to head back to land before the tides dropped too low, and we unintentionally ramped some waves. Riding back in the van to the church cold, soaking wet, and tired felt amazingly great!
We had rice, vegetables, beans, and the salmon given to us by a participant’s grandmother for our supper. This evening we were given some honeydew and blueberries for breakfast tomorrow.
There’s been a few little reminders of God’s work here that have been clear to me. There’s been a word or two at the perfect time, some good feelings, and also verses I’ve stumbled upon that God has used to explain things of this life more clearly. All these instances have helped increase my faith, and I hope my team members and those who, through some sort of vocation, are involved with the mission trip have experienced as well.