You’ve done your VBS and you’ve packed it away until you can reuse items fromAgency D3. But what if you could still serve kids by grabbing some of those leftovers and a Backyard Kids Club Kit and taking them on mission?
We’ve heard lots of stories about people using VBS and Backyard Kids Club for mission trips and we love hearing them! I’m especially excited about the simplified version of VBS that Backyard Kids Club provides, since it means a much easier time organizing kids’ programming with limited space, time, or supplies.
I grew up as a missionary kid and I’ve seen many people bring VBS overseas with them. I’ve even been on short term VBS mission trips myself. Because of that, I've had the chance to learn what works and doesn't work in an international setting.
After you start by praying hard for every step of your trip, here are a few tips as you prepare:
1. Pack light. Check with the airline you’re flying with about weight restrictions and baggage fees and then determine what you have to have for your Backyard Kids Club, within that restriction. Remember to check security guidelines when you’re packing your carry-on baggage as well.
2. Be sustainable. What this looks like depends on where you’re going, but don’t focus on taking a lot of extra stuff for your Backyard Kids Club. While extras can be fun, if it’s something a local church in another country won’t be able to replicate without you, either because of money or availability, it could do more harm than good. Instead, focus on the eternal message you’ll be sharing. Talk with local missionaries and church leaders in the area where you’ll be going for more advice on this subject.
3. Be culturally sensitive. Talk with missionaries, read books, and learn about the culture where you’ll be conducting Backyard Kids Club. Things that are innocent in the U.S. could mean something totally different in another country. Being prepared for things to get lost in translation shows you care about people and their culture, and helps show them what Christ means to them in their culture.
4. Strive for good teamwork. Pray that God will help your team work well together and be patient with one another. Also do your best to work well with local missionaries, churches, and other Christian organizations in the area where you’re serving. When you leave, those people will remain to continue serving God and showing His love to people, so it’s important to listen to them and take their advice in order to avoid breaking relationships they’ve worked hard to build, even if it's done accidentally.
5. Love well. A smile here and a hug there (when it’s culturally appropriate!) go a long way toward telling any child you love them, no matter the language. Give your time and caring freely, knowing God will be honored if you love well, and that more people will hopefully come to love and follow Him.
Have you taken VBS or Backyard Kids Club on mission before? We'd love to hear your stories in the comments! To see more information about our Backyard Kids Club resources, click here.