Big Apple Adventure Theme-related Promotion Ideas

The past two Tuesdays I have written about the importance of making connections – especially with the people you want to attend your VBS. Here are three ideas that not only allows you to have some theme-related fun but provides an opportunity for you and your VBS leaders to begin making those important community connections.

Super Dog Pet Rally – Host a community-wide pet fair and VBS registration event. Award inexpensive prizes for the best costume, best tricks, most unusual, etc. Show “A Man, a Dog, and a Community Center” from the Day 3 Missions Rotation video and share how God even uses animals as missionaries. Serve Big Apple Adventure snacks. Distribute information about VBS and provide families the opportunity to register.

Big City Adventure Saturday – Invite the community to participate in a scavenger hunt to discover the unique aspects of your own city – those places people may pass everyday without knowing their historical or cultural significance. End the hunt at the church campus. Share Big Apple Adventure snacks and information about VBS and other church ministries. Give families an opportunity to register for VBS.

Candy Apple Make and Take – Invite families to bring an apple for each member of the family and join the fun of creating their own Big City Candy Apples. Provide the sticks, caramel, and all the trimmings. Have extra apples on hand for anyone who might arrive without their own apple. Create fun categories and award prizes. Provide VBS information and registration cards.

Foto Friday-Proof

Hi everyone! It’s Keith again! I hope you all are enjoying the blog. This week’s Foto Friday has a familiar face to it, Proof.

Thank you Andy for sharing a day in the life of Proof this week. We were privileged to meet Proof at the VBS Preview events and had a fun time loving on him. Here are some candid photos of Proof with several members of the VBS team!

Becky, Andy, & Proof


Andy, Proof, & some friends (who seem to have the same hat on!)


Melita & Proof


Becky, Melita, & Proof


Gordon & Proof after a long and productive day!


Meeting Andy and Proof was a blessing and reading about the encouragement and hope they are able to pass to the people of the Bronx, reminds me that I need to be praying for them and all of our missionaries around the world. After the events of the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan, I’m reminded to pray especially for the Japanese people and our missionaries in Japan. Also, if you would like to donate to the relief efforts in Japan then you could do so at many different organizations. The Baptist Global Response and the IMB, both have webpage where you can donate.




Proof God Exists*

Proof’s day is about to draw to a close. If you are confused right now, you might want to check out the blog entries for March 14th and March 15th.

Be sure to look out for Proof in the Big Apple Adventure this summer. Not only will students learn about her in the VBS children’s mission’s curriculum, but preschool and kindergarteners will learn about Proof as well in their missions rotation.

Proof’s day draws to a close . . .

As the day draws to a close, the kids pack up their bags, but one kid is upset and nobody knows why. He yells, punches, and kicks. There is no calming him. Who knows why he finally clicked? Proof crosses the room and moves close by the angry boy who is now sitting with a scowl. With no fear, Proof sticks her head in his lap, and his violent hands suddenly still. He reaches down and caresses her fur, taking a deep breath. The situation’s now calm and all can relax, as he now has a smile that grows brighter with each lick across his soft hands.

The kids are now gone and Proof’s day is nearly complete. She and her master head home, but a different way than they came. Taking different turns, Proof sees many more fans, people who greet, wave, and even hug. These streets are often tough, sometimes scary things can happen, but when Proof walks by all evil thoughts seem to disperse, run-away leaving pure joy. Walking up a hill, one would think they were transported. As if walking on a border, a look to the right is the same as before, but now to the left the buildings are replaced with towering boulders, sprawling elms and oaks, and green grass. The big city park is where Proof often plays. Chasing her ball, running, and jumping does a lot to free her from any stress of the day.

Today, though, there is a lady, standing in the shadows created by trees, not in the silver moonlight but beneath the orange street lights. She steps toward Proof, and quietly asks, “Can I pet your dog?”  Before an answer is given, she sits on the ground and Proof crawls in her lap, immediately changing the lady’s frown. Proof’s master stands by, pondering the situation. The years of struggle for this lady were clearly shown by the wrinkles on her leathery face. Baggy clothes she wore and a duffle rested beside her now cross-legged sitting body. Likely her whole life is packed in this bag, possibly heading towards the shelter. Like nomads crossing the desert, many families head with their bags every evening to this temporary home.

A few seconds turn to many, now even minutes. Each lick of this canine healer brings tears from this wounded soul. No words are shared, just heartfelt emotion. The woman finally stands to leave, collecting her belongings. A few steps she takes, and gently turns. Looking at Proof then her master, she points and exclaims, “That dog is Proof God exists.”

They depart and head their different ways. Proof and her master return to their fourth floor abode. Proof eats her dinner and winds down for the night, resting again on her brown, pillowy bed. Many such days have already occurred, many more are yet to come in her journey ahead. Daily proving God exists, not through any extraordinary means, but by being who she was created to be, Proof is serving others through simple means. Proof can teach a lesson for us all, to be not what others desire, but instead fulfill God’s plans and live a life meeting the needs of others. The question that remains is will people look at you and simply say, “There is Proof that God exists”?

Visit Graffiti 2’s website to learn more about Proof’s ministry. Click on the following link to download an order form for your very own Proof t-shirt. Proof Order Form

*“Proof God Exists” is an original work of Andrew Mann. All Rights Reserved.

Missions Has Gone to the Dogs

Today continues Part 2 of “A Day in the Life of Proof.”  She’s the first-ever missionary dog. Read yesterday’s blog entry to catch up or visit Graffiti 2’s Web site at Also don’t forget to check out the Proof apparel that is available to order by clicking on the following link. Proof Order Form

Proof God Exists*

Proof’s day continues . . .

Proof gallops in, fiercely gyrating her whole body, greeting all of her coworkers who arrived before her. As her coworkers prepare for the day, Proof quickly finds a quiet place and relaxes into a snoring slumber.

Through the door enters a man. A man many might avoid. With many layers of clothes, any visible skin is covered in a layer of grime and sweat. To be honest, he doesn’t smell well, but that’s what one might expect when one lives with no home. Without a second-thought Proof stirs and is the first to greet. As Proof’s master brings him a cup of water, Proof sits right at his feet. The man looks down and says, “I used to have a yellow lab just like that…”  He reaches down and pats her on the head and continues to talk, telling stories of the life he once led. Many moments pass as Proof sits loyally beside until finally a prayer is shared, along with a bag of pantry food. The man stands to leave and says, “See you later Proof.”

Midday brings a walk outside. Sometimes there are other dogs walking with their masters, playing in spouting hydrants, but rarely any with a pastor. At the corner, salsa music plays, coming from a bodega. These are on every corner, the little stores of the city. One can buy chips, drinks, snack cakes or fruit. Today, four men exit carrying their lunches, hot ham and cheese. One man asks, “What’s your dog’s name?” and becomes more interested in the work of Proof’s man. After expressing great interest in joining their fellowship, the man quips, “I never would have talked to you if it wasn’t for your dog, Proof.”

Upon their return Proof quietly returns to her place, awaiting with expectation the afternoon’s guests. Every day after school, children rush through the door, of course, greeted by Proof’s ever wagging tail. They study, learn, pray, and play as Proof watches in her usual way. There are times when Proof is called over as a kid sits on the floor. With an open book across her lap she reads aloud to Proof who never talks back.

Later, Proof moves and sits next to a girl, sitting, frowning from a tough day at school and an even tougher night before. She shyly asks, “Can I get a hug?”  Proof’s master says, “Proof, hug!” and what do you know, Proof jumps in her arms. With some kisses too, Proof changed her day as she now has a smile that isn’t easily washed away.

Sitting at another table, Proof’s coworker tries to figure out the problem for a student who’s gloomy and despondent. Proof walks near the little boy who refuses to vent his struggles and woes. Proof’s coworker states, “Well since you can’t tell me, do you want to tell Proof?”  With a long pause, the young man looks down at Proof. Then with certainty in his voice says, “Yeah, I speak dog.”  Proof listens intently as he whispers in her ear. He rises from crouching with his problems now discussed; the little boy readily returns to his seat and begins his daily school work . . .

Check back tomorrow to see how Proof’s day ends. Also check out the VBS missions rotation curriculum to learn not only about the work of Graffiti 2 and Proof, but the amazing work of missionaries across the world.

*“Proof God Exists” is an original work of Andrew Mann. All Rights Reserved.

Lots of Dogs!

Hello! As the editor of the VBS Missions curriculum, I cannot tell you how excited I am for boys and girls to have an opportunity to meet Andrew Mann and his dog, Proof, in VBS this summer. Andrew will be sharing his story and how Proof is involved in his ministry on the VBS blog over the next few days! So let me just turn it over to Andrew and Proof!

In a city of 8 million people, there are hundreds of thousands of dogs: big dogs, small dogs, furry dogs, hairless dogs, mean dogs, and nice dogs. Up in the Bronx though, is one very unique dog. In fact, she is the first of her kind. Working with a ministry and church called Graffiti 2, she is a missionary dog.

Graffiti 2 is in a borough of New York City called the Bronx, long infamous for the devastating circumstances that are faced by its residents. Graffiti 2 is sharing the love of Christ and watching as He revolutionizes not only individual lives but a neighborhood.

As kids go on the Big Apple Adventure this summer, they will have an opportunity to see how God is revolutionizing lives all over the world through missionaries. On Day 3, of the mission’s curriculum, kids in VBS will learn more about the ministry of Proof. Meanwhile, share a day in the life of Proof in three installments (beginning today and continuing in 2 subsequent postings).

Proof God Exists*

Shhh!  She’s asleep. Laying on her brown, corduroy pillow, worn from several years of use one might not think anything unique about this mild-mannered pooch, but that is often the case for the most remarkable among us. Just as many dogs do she quivers and turns during her nightly snooze. She even drools like many of you. With the sound of an alarm, her master awakes and she hears her favorite words, “Good Morning Proof.”

That’s right, her name is Proof.  It is unlikely to find another dog by the same name, but if one did it is doubtful that such a search would reveal another as skilled as Proof. Of course she can fetch, sit, lay, and roll. She can shake, crawl, jump, and even hug to warm the coldest soul.  All of that is handy as she performs her work.  Some dogs like her are trained to help smell, search, and find. While others’ duties involve helping the blind. Proof is unique, though, she is a missionary, maybe the first of her kind.

This morning is much like all the others. Proof expectantly awaits her master’s approval to devour her morning breakfast. Unlike many of her canine companions she patiently waits . . . and waits . . . and waits . . . until she hears . . .”Okay, Proof.”  The hard, dry food is gone in a flash.

Descending four flights of stairs, Proof and her master step out on the stoop of the building and head down the street. Proof steps off the curb and on another as she crosses the street trotting alongside her master’s feet. They continue past a colorful wall tagged with graffiti, that’s the art of the city.

Turning the corner reveals a long, straight street of six-story buildings. Walking below black fire escapes which hug the front of each building, they proceed past many stoops which lead to black doors. Behind each of these black doors are many more black doors, the doorways to hundreds of homes. From these stoops many watch Proof gait by, some sitting, others standing, some young, others old. Ms. Whittie and Mr. Cruz each say, “Hello, Proof!”

Continuing down the sidewalk, Proof hears her name, “Proof.”  Looking around, it comes again, “Proof up here.”  Proof’s gentle gaze looks past a power line strewn with sneakers. Who knows how they got here, but now abandoned by their owner, they become a backdrop in the city, one of much lore. Above these hanging shoes to a window on the sixth floor, a hand is waving vigorously back and forth. This is the typical morning parade.

After a friendly wave and what seems to be a smile from Proof, the two move forward past a concrete clad park where children often play. Today with the children in school, no children are afoot but two squirrels squabble over an acorn, one chasing the other to a towering elm. Turning the final corner they arrive on the block where behind the green door Proof daily works . . .

To Be Continued . . . In the meantime, visit Graffiti 2’s Web site to find out more info about the work that takes place in the South Bronx. Also, click on the following link to download an order form for your very own Proof t-shirt. Proof Order Form Proceeds benefit the ministry of Graffiti 2.

*”Proof God Exists” is an original work of Andrew Mann. All Rights Reserved.