CLARKS SUMMIT - A Vacation Bible School with games and music from another country is what Clarks Summit United Methodist Church offered to children this year. The theme was Cross Culture Thailand Trek.
From July 20-23, children learned not only a little about Thailand, but also about God’s forgiveness.
“I think Vacation Bible School is amazing how it brings kids together to learn about God through music, art, games and interactive stories,” said volunteer Loriann Kerber.
Outside the church, children played traditional Thai recess games, such as Makew (Thai for “tiger cub”). In this game, they flipped marbles into a cup. They also played Takraw, a traditional sport in Southeast Asia, where a ball or balloon is kept in the air by participants without using their hands.
Inside the Thailand Treats café, children received a Rice Krispies treat and learned a Bible story about how God’s forgiveness “sticks” with us.
Another reason why the VBS was considered a cross-culture event was because it gave the attendees an opportunity to help children in foreign countries through a project called Operation Christmas Child. Colleen Kostiak, both a Sunday school teacher and leader of the Operation Christmas Child project, gave shoeboxes to the VBS students. Each day, the students brought small items, including toys, candy, crayons, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and placed them inside their shoeboxes to be donated to underprivileged children overseas.
“I think it’s great for kids to think about other kids, especially when they’re at the age when they think of themselves,” said Kostiak. “I think the kids are excited to be doing the shoeboxes.”
The VBS students also wrote letters to the children to whom they sent shoeboxes.
The last station for the day was in the church’s sanctuary. There, youngster sang and danced to fun praise songs. Music assistant Marissa Draim volunteered to teach the songs to the children who practiced their moves in front of a mural with a scenery from Thailand. A closing ceremony was held on July 26 during which the VBS students performed in front of their families and friends.
“I like the music from VBS,” said student Tyler Bowen, of Clarks Summit.
The children also watched a KidVid story video, which showed a different child in Thailand each day.
Nearly 30 volunteers, including teens, helped with the VBS.
“I like everything about the VBS,” said VBS student Hannah Puttencamp.
Children place items in a shoe box to donate overseas. From left, are Isabelle Kostiak, volunteer Mary Magner, Emily Williams, Sunday school teacher Alicia Tench, Hannah Puttencamp and Tyler Bowen.
Children dance to praise songs in the sanctuary. From left, first row, are Olivia Piasecki, Carly Miller, Natalie O’Hara, Angela Hwang Hwang, Julyan Svoboda, Clare Uzarski, Coby Dooley and Mikalah Atkins. Second row, Sophia Medina, Hayley Smeraldi, Maddie Herold, Geoff Brock and Hunter James.