A Year of Smiles – Day 158


55The number of children who attended Vacation Bible School at our church this year.

The number of lives we were able to pour into and connect with.

The number of families represented and opportunities for outreach and prayer.


10The number of Bibles given to children who did not own a copy of the Word of God until this week.

The number of hearts that will be opened by the promises of the Heavenly Father and the truth of His Word.

The number of homes that will be illuminated by the message of God’s love.


6The number of children who made decisions for God.

The number of lives that will forever be changed by the life-altering truth of the Gospel.

The number of faces glowing because of the victory found in following Jesus.


These are the numbers God placed before me and my church.  He asked us to care for, to invest in, to love on and to lift up not only 55 children but also the families they represent.  He asked us to deliver His Word to 10 children who will carry God’s message to their homes and communities.  He asked us to be faithful to share His message of love and salvation and entrusted us with 6 beautiful children to nurture and lead along their journeys of following Jesus.

55 children, 10 Bibles, 6 decisions for God and countless SMILES – what more could a VBS director ask for?


A Year of Smiles – Day 154

Reason to SMILE #154: HELPING HANDSshake-my-hand-smiley

My “to do” list today was at least five yards long. I awoke dreading what I knew would be an exhausting day. I pulled the covers over my head hoping to go back to sleep and wake up again to find the overwhelming list was all a dream…

It wasn’t.

Regardless of my reluctance, I began my day and my list. Fortunately, I did not have to tackle my list alone. Today I was surrounded by many helping hands who gave up a Saturday to ready our church for Vacation Bible School. Though the list seemed at times to grow rather than shorten and time seemed to flitter away rather than linger, those helping hands worked tirelessly until feet were pained, backs were aching and eyes were heavy.  I was blessed today by their commitment, faithfulness and willingness to serve. They made up for my lack of drive and excitement and at the end of the long and wearisome day, all of their hard work had paid off and the church was finally ready.

I thank God for sending those wonderful helping hands today. They brought a SMILE not only to my face but also to my soul – my very tired and worn out soul!

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A Year of Smiles – Day 92


This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine;stars-eyes-fb-sticker

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine;

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine;

Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.¹

It was time to decorate for Vacation Bible School.  The theme was “Shine” – living a life that glorifies God, being the light of the world.  The stage had to radiate light so it was decorated with huge, sparkly letters spelling out the word “SHINE”.  Each letter was covered in gold foil and outlined in glitter to create the perfect medium for reflecting the spot lights when they hit the stage.  The set was simple when viewed with the house light burning brightly above but once darkness filled the room and the spots were pointed directly on the set, brilliant light glared in every corner of the sanctuary.

That is still my favorite VBS stage set.

Recently, I had the SHINE letters hung in our children’s hallway.  Each time I walk by them, I am reminded of the sparkling light that cut through the shadows of the sanctuary each night of our Vacation Bible School and it makes me SMILE.  What an effect we accomplished!  But what I am most mindful of as I walk past those glittery, gold letters is the fact that I am to be shining my light into the darkness of this world in which I live.

In Matthew 5:14, Jesus calls His followers the light of the world.  He explains that we are to live in such a way that when others see the light in us through our good deeds and service to those around us, they cannot help but recognize that light and give God the glory for it.  You see, each day, we have to be like the big, sparkly letters of that VBS set.  We have to clothe ourselves with gold foil and glitter – good deeds, service, willingness to deny ourselves, kind words, generosity, godly choices, forgiveness, love – so we can reflect the Light of our Savior for a darkened world to see.

Oh, Christian!  Is your light shining today?  If you’ve made the Light of the World first in your life, there’s no way you can hide it.  Your light will shine for all to see and God will be glorified and I know He will SMILE!


¹”This Little Light of Mine”

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It’s That Time, Again! Vacation Bible School

Of all the things I get to do as Children’s Minister at my church, Vacation Bible School is one of my favorites.  (Of course, I really do love it all.)  What a wonderfully chaotic experience!! I love everything about it, from the planning to the decorating to the music and the crafts.  Even clean up afterward can be fun – oh, yes, I said “fun”.  If you’ve never felt the release that comes from tearing down and cleaning out a whole children’s wing, you really should try it! But don’t forget to have your VBS music blaring in the background. 😉

We’ve already had VBS this summer.  Our kids went on a deep sea diving adventure to discover that God’s great love can reach us wherever we go.  It was a blast – no wait, that was last year’s theme (Standard Publishing’s Blast to the Past).  This year our entire program took place under the sea (a seemingly popular theme among VBS programs) and our kids and adult and youth volunteers loved every minute.

Each night we dove into the depths of the ocean and observed mysterious sea creatures all around us.

We swam through a swarm of jelly fish and discovered a sunken ship where we learned awesome truths from God’s Word.

We crafted our own under the sea creations in a seaweed-filled cavern.

And we learned to serve others in our very own yellow submarine.

Our diving excursions began with registration at the Dive Shop on Pelican Pier.

And each night, we began and ended at Celebration Reef where we filled the ocean depths with our praises to God.

photo 1 - Copy

Whew! I’m tired just recapping our adventures!  Can you imagine what it was like with 58 children and almost as many youth and adults swimming around each night?  It was exhausting but wonderfully amazing at the same time.  Just seeing the expressions on each face, feeling the excitement in the air and knowing these kids were having fun learning about God’s love made all the effort, planning, decorating, hanging and re-hanging and then hanging blue table cloth again worth it.

Oh, but the best part was those three precious children who stood up to say they wanted to be a part of God’s family.  Yeah, that’s why I love VBS!