CLARKS GREEN — A hot air balloon display in the sanctuary. Kids decorating drawings of hot air balloons and learning scientific facts about balloons. This was Vacation Bible School at the Clarks Green United Methodist Church which carried the theme of “Soaring to New Heights with God.”
Children from ages 3 to fifth grade learned through arts and crafts, science, music, and puppet shows, making their faith in God lift off the ground.
In science class, Roger Clapp, who has been a member of Clarks Green UMC since October 2017, taught kids about carbon dioxide and oxygen and how we need them both to survive. He also taught them experiments involving balloons, including the Bernoulli principle. He taught that blowing in between two balloons will bring them close together as opposed to blowing a single balloon which blows it away. Another experiment was to trigger a balloon from one end of the string to the other as the helium is discharged from the balloon.
Clapp also incorporated Jesus in his teachings by including Bible stories. He shared the story of Jesus calming the storms when he and his disciples were on a boat and taught the Gospel of Matthew’s passage, “Winds cease when Jesus gets in a boat.” Before coming to Clarks Green UMC, Clapp and his wife were VBS teachers at Tunkhannock Presbyterian Church when his children were younger. He’s glad to be teaching at a VBS again.
“I really enjoyed working with the kids and working with the leaders,” he said. “A week together, it really helps build connections.”
In the story room, volunteers Carlie Holgate and her daughter Ayla taught Bible stories through puppet shows and reenactments. They put on a puppet show to tell the story of Zaccheus, a tax collector who was invited by Jesus. Afterwards, Ayla led the kids on a hunt to find clues to search for a hidden message. After finding the clues, they put them together to make the message, “Being different is OK because Jesus looks at us equal” — the lesson behind Zaccheus’ story.
Carlie and Ayla also taught Bible stories of Abraham, Joseph, Martha and Mary and Peter. After many years of being a VBS student, this was Ayla’s first time as a youth leader, although her sister Paige has been a youth leader for three years.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Ayla said. “It’s a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it.”
“It’s definitely a lot of fun but never a quiet moment,” Paige said. “There’s balloon fights, noisemakers, but still really fun. These kids are amazing.”
In arts and crafts, kids designed hot air balloons with pieces of colored construction paper, drawing both day and night scenes.
The VBS was a fundraiser for United Methodist missionary Mark Zimmerman, of Warminster, for his upcoming mission trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. He was assigned there to spread God’s Word and help people in need. Zimmerman is a founding director of Nick Simons Institute, an organization that supports government health care workers across remote regions of Nepal.
Zimmerman has been working in Nepal since 1986 and has served as a medical doctor of Patan Hospital from 1998 to 2005. After founding Nick Simons Hospital in 2006 and working there until 2016, he returned to work as a senior consultant and professor in Patan Hospital.
The kids raised $160 at VBS, surpassing their goal of $100. As a reward, Pastor John Bondhus dyed his hair blue and had his fingernails painted.
The VBS ended with a performance after classes on Frideay. The kids performed songs and dances they learned that week in front of their families and enjoyed lunch together in the cafeteria, after which they played in a bounce house outside the church.
The VBS this year was led by church member Alicia Kinney.
“It’s a good week and a good time,” Kinney said.
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