Hey family and friends. We had an exciting, experience-filled day - one with a lot of laughter and some tears. Unfortunately, those tears were not from the team, but from the children. Our fault. Super.
Quick side note: “Supah” (Super) is the exclamation made after just about everything to indicate appreciation, congratulations, or just a general agreement. Dear everyone we know, please start using this. It feels so good to say.
Today, we had what I consider to be our most important day in terms of message and the message was so clearly communicated. After our opening dance-party session, we moved into the Grain Game demonstrations. The first was a great new game that we played with the kids called, “Super Doorway” (told you that word is everywhere). In it, we let the kids pick numbered envelopes with a message inside that either says “Super Doorway” or “No”. If you get the “Super Doorway” sign, you get to walk through the curtain and get a lollipop. If you’re one of the last two kids standing, you get sprayed with silly string. And here’s where the crying comes in. We’ve played games this week where kids get doused with water. Laughs all around. Today, we played a game where just about every participant gets covered with shaving cream. Hysterical responses. But shoot a little silly string at a kid and the waterworks start. We can’t explain it, but we’re hoping that in the next VBS we can get the most fun out of it as possible, because Silly String is way too much fun not to cover the kids with. To make matters worse, at the village church, the boy who got the silly string (and cried) was invited back up to play the second game: where he got a face full of shaving cream. That guy wasn’t having the best day. However, our second attempt to cheer him up, where he got to be the final “Plate holder” and cover Matt with shaving cream, seemed to do the trick just fine.
Once the game was played, Pops brought the message home in a big way. God called Noah to build an ark that was as long as a football field and he was to bring two of every animal in with him. While many doors would be a good idea for that amount of work, God was clear that the ark was to only have one door. Anyone who walked through that door onto the ark would be saved. Anyone else who didn’t go through that doorway faced the punishment. The scripture we used to teach this is John 14:6 which says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no man goes to the Father but through Him. Jesus is the doorway. This seems pretty basic to us Americans…but here in India, where false gods are worshipped at every corner and Jesus is just considered another god, this is a big deal. This is a major slap in the spiritual face of this culture. And the kids ate that message up.
Following this, Cassie got up and shared the Evangecube. This is a great Gospel presentation that works great for kids. The Cube folds up/down/open and tells the story of man’s fall, Christ sacrifice and victory and what it means for us to commit our lives to Christ. It tied in perfectly with the Super Doorway demo and the kids were the most attentive at this time than they’ve been during ANYTHING else this week. Thank You, Jesus - and thank you to all of you who prayed during that time. God moved.
We finished our Assembly with one of the most loved Grain Games: The Hidden Bouncy Ball. You may remember this from last year, but in it, kids are brought up to the front, have their eyes covered, and a bouncy ball is placed on the table underneath one of two cups. The kids have to choose a cup and if they guess correctly they receive candy. If they guess incorrectly? A face full of shaving cream. Everyone loves this game because there is something genuinely awesome about someone getting decked with a plate full of shaving cream. The kids played and then the adults had their turn. It’s wild. And messy. And perfect. The teaching here is that God gave Adam and Eve (and us) clear instructions on how to obey Him. If they/we obey, we receive blessing and eternal life with Him. If we reject Him, then He has told us we will be separated from Him. God does not trick us and He is not unfair. Satan, however, loves to hide or mask the true consequences of our sin. So we show them how “not cool” it is to not know the consequences prior to making a decision. Between these three demos, we communicated that Jesus is the only way to the Father, that man has fallen and in His love God sent Jesus to die and rise again so that we can live, and that we have a very clear choice to make. What a perfect message and the kids were so attentive during all of it. I love it when God works like that.
Tonight, due to our change of venue starting tomorrow afternoon/evening, Matt and I had to accompany Hot James (Donny, Sweet Baby D, Baby K, whatever you want to call him) to David’s condo with all of our luggage. Because of this, I can’t really speak to what took place at the Mission Center and I don’t want to speak of what took place on that adventure to the condo. We may or may not have had a Lion King singalong and there is the possibility that one of us on the adventure to the condo (who is American and has bad hair) drove a portion of the way (like, 2 miles on a dirt road and 30 feet on the real road). But wow. It was a life-changing experience for that guy that he is super excited not to have again.
So, I will wrap up today’s blog with just a brief story. The village church that we have attended since Tuesday had their final session today. We’ve spent some time there this week, but not really a whole lot. Maybe 3 hours total…but I doubt even that. So, you wouldn’t think that that’s even enough time to get close to these kids, but let me tell you, they are such a blessing to us. They were the most responsive group we’ve ever had and they made everything we did more fun. They were so attentive during all of our sessions and so appreciative and loving for every little thing. Going to the village church was one of the highlights of our day. But as I said earlier, today was their final day and the last time we will see them on this trip. I mentioned in a previous blog how the first day and the last day of mission are the toughest. I forgot to add the day we have to say “see ya later” to the first week kids. Looking at their beautiful faces and the joy God has blessed them with, you also realize that these little children are walking back into a community, a country and a world that hates the very God that are committing themselves to. You hate leaving because you want so badly to assure them and encourage them. So, we held on as long as we could. Hugging vs. shaking hands. Saying “See ya later” vs. “Goodbye”. Reminding them over and over again that Jesus loves them. I hated pulling out of the driveway today. I hate knowing that tomorrow, we do it all over again. Please pray for us that we will say the right things to encourage these amazing kids tomorrow.
Tonight, we ask for your prayers again. Would you join alongside us tonight for these things:
1) That our time with the children tomorrow will be meaningful and encouraging to them.
2) That God would continue to watch over these children who are risking their lives to learn about and follow Jesus.
3) That God would once again give us His strength - because we don’t have any anymore.
4) Praise that He is working and using your support and this team to change lives in India.
5) That God would bless with some cool, fresh breeze.
Also, I want to apologize for last night’s blog. I went back and read it and I swear I’m not on drugs. There were whole sentences in that thing that were nonsensical. I apologize. It’s late and comes after a long day…I don’t feel I should be held responsible for any errors or paragraphs that are clearly ridiculous. Thank you for your assistance in this!
Oh, and Annette Spain, I promised I would bring Matt home. I absolutely will do this. However, once he’s home and back in your possession, all bets are off. He’s coming back.
Love you all,