I grew up in a family that didn’t attend church. My mom had every good excuses as to why we didn’t go. Scraping to make ends meet, we didn’t have money for Sunday clothes and we didn’t have anything to put in the offering plate. Besides, she believed that church was nothing more than a room full of stiff, uppity people.
As a result of her beliefs, we kids had a rather snotty view of church as well. Yet, I would watch the neighbors pile into their station wagons every Sunday morning, dressed in their finery, and I felt more than a little left out.
At the end of 3rd grade, my friends announced that they were going to Vacation Bible School and they invited me to go too. They told me that there would be games and treats and I begged my mother to let me go. Somehow, she gathered the fee and dropped me off at the nearby church on the first day.
I was horrified to find that my friends didn’t actually come! Being painfully shy, I cried through the entire first day. That night, I begged my mom to let me quit. But, she was having none of it. She had paid good money and, by golly, I was going to see it through. I was miserable.
And then, something amazing happened. The teacher announced that whoever memorized all the daily Bible verses would earn a Bible. She showed us the beautiful book we would win. It was regal looking with its black faux leather cover and its gold gilt lettering. I had never wanted anything so badly in my life.
I worked hard at memorizing those verses and I often recited them to the teacher with tears running down my face because I was so shy. But, I was determined to win that book! And, despite the odds against me, I did it. I had never been that proud in my life.
I remember getting up early the Sunday after VBS ended and dressing in my best. I remember sitting in the pew nervously until my name was called and that precious Bible was put into my hands. It was so beautiful and I had worked so hard to earn it.
I didn’t understand anything in it. I would turn the pages reverently and pour over pictures that meant nothing to me. But, it was MY Bible, and I loved it.
Looking back, I realize that going to Vacation Bible School was the very beginning of my path towards faith, the road that led me to my Father. My time at VBS was my first introduction to the guy they called God. How grateful I am to the teacher who volunteered her time and put up with a painfully shy little girl who spent most of her time crying.
I have traveled many roads, I have overcome much of my disabling shyness, and I have gotten to know the amazing God my teacher spoke about. And, I still have that first Bible with my name in it. I wouldn’t part with it for the world.
To those of you who volunteer at Vacation Bible Schools, God bless you. You have no idea the impact you have on the little ones you tend to. Which ones of them will look back on their time with you as the beginning of their walk with Christ?
Where did your walk with Christ first begin? I’d love to hear!
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