AWA Accessories

Hey guys! VBS Previews are great for many reasons—the biggest one is the people. Besides getting to see old friends and making new ones, I’m always impressed by the “amazing” enthusiasm preview folks have for VBS! It’s great to hear stories about last summer’s VBS, and talk about your plans for the coming year. It’s difficult to put into words exactly how that “fires me up”!

Check out a couple of my new friends who take their enthusiasm beyond what they say to what they wear!

Andrew created a flight helmet (sorry no photo) and this “amazing” jacket!

Andrew painted the AWA logo on the back of his leather jacket! Awesome!

Here’s Paula Royal wearing some of her “amazing” creations…

Paula's cool black vest with embroidered AWA logo

Here's the front!

Paula's embroidered jacket! Note the embroidered pant leg!

Here's the back of the other pant leg—with scripture reference—a conversation starter "fer shur"!

Do any of you have VBS accessory photos you’d like to send? I know a couple of you do: Becky Mitchell—send us a photo of your awesome knit pilot’s cap! …and Christy Law—send us some shots of your VBS ear rings. (Christy makes ear rings out of some of our promo items every year! Deb Muller too!)

Again, send in those photos!

Grace and peace,

Gordon

Geek of The Week – Paula Royal!

Hey Guys. Paula Royal caught our attention at the Nashville Preview Event as soon as she walked into the EXPO room. She was wearing an orange colored jacket with the Amazing Wonders Aviation logo embroidered on the back! Not only that, she had embroidered VBS 2012 airplanes on both legs of here blue jeans… scripture reference stitched right in! My first thought? “There goes a Geek of The Week!” (…and I mean that with all due respect!)

It is a pleasure to introduce Paula Royal, Lake Martin Baptist Church, Dadeville, Al – our newly inducted VBS Geek of The Week!

Paula receives her Geek of the Week T-Shirt at the Nashville Preview, Jan 2012

Paula is a delight. I don’t usually use that word but it applies here. What a sweet lady! During the preview, she wore several other self-made, custom designs! (…we’re saving those and other custom made accessories another blog!) For now, here are some shots of Paula’s cool customized clothes that caught our eye…

Paula's outfit!

Front left of Paula's jacket!

Paula's pants - back left!

Paula's pants - front right!

What are your VBS roles?
My roles in VBS are:
1. teaching the 3 – 4 year old class
2. I help others with ideas and decorations when needed
3. the past 2 years (and again this year) I will teach crafts at the Tallapoosa Baptist Association VBS clinic
4. helping anywhere needed

What is your “Geekiest” VBS moment?
Last year at our VBS I dressed as “Liz the Taxi Cab Driver”. I monogrammed
a white jacket with the VBS logo, taxi cabs, the Big Apple with silhouette, Statue of Liberty and the Bible verse. I also painted my tennis shoes black and white checked with yellow accent like a taxi cab. After VBS I passed my “Liz” items to Beulah Baptist Church in our area to use. I asked, if possible, please pass these items on to another church when they were finished.

However I felt my “Geekiest” VBS moment was this year at the TN preview. Dressing as “Liz the Taxi Cab Driver” was fun and crazy, but I never realized that there was such a title as “VBS Geek”. I am a person that is not surprised easily and this time someone got me. I know that God made me special, but what a privilege and honor to be called a “VBS Geek”. [...gotcha Liz!]

What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?
I need to give a little background in this area. Two years ago our
VBS director, Gwen Stockdale asked if I would teach the 3-4 year old class. I said yes and the first night of VBS I had 12-15 little ones. It was total chaos for my helper and I. After class I went to Gwen and told her I felt I was not capable of teaching (as this was the first time I had every taught VBS) and explained what the class was like. I tried so hard to teach the children about Jesus, but things were out of control and I felt I had failed. Gwen said it would all work out and hang in there. We discussed what had happened and come to find out I had received the wrong lesson plan book for my class age. I know now why it is so important to have age appropriate lessons. That night I prayed to God and thanked him for what I thought was a disaster and asked for wisdom to teach my class. Each night thereafter I received blessing after blessing from my little ones.

The reason I continue VBS is the joy in the children’s faces when the bible story clicks with their lives and their love to learn about Jesus. It is a blessing to have children who have been in my class in previous years wanting to come back to learn more. I love teaching the little ones about Jesus and after VBS is over I sit and reflect on the week. I find that I have learned more about my savior and have grown in my Christian walk during this time. My husband said that God and Gwen have me teaching in the right age group, as I can relate to them, as I am on the 3-4 year old level.

Another reason I love VBS is the love, excitement and joy my VBS director and her husband, Gwen and Byron Stockdale, have for the Lord. They are dedicated to our Lord, not only on a daily basis, but when VBS rolls around they are wide open. They are such an inspiration to me. I try daily to be like Jesus, but when you have a good Christian example (as is all our VBS group) to follow, it helps make your Christian walk straighter and stronger.
I plan to continue working with VBS until the Lord leads me in another direction.

What is my favorite VBS theme to date?
I have only been teaching the past 3 years and out of these years my favorite VBS theme is Big Apple Adventure. When we were at the Tennessee preview last year, I saw the shirts and thought what does “I HEART (Love) VBS” have to do with the NY theme. It wasn’t until late that evening it clicked with my brain. My VBS director had so many great ideas for this theme and made it exciting. Gwen is truly Blessed with ideas and teaching others of Jesus. The Sunday after the preview she dressed like “Pearl of Praise” and no one in the congregation recognized her. Everyone, especially me, was excited to see what she had planned for VBS and what God was going to do. I loved how the theme expressed that God loves us all no matter who we are. We are to reach out and teach others about Jesus from every background no matter their circumstance.

I cannot wait for VBS to come this year and see what Gwen has planned, what I will learn, and what God has in store for us.

You might be a “VBS Geek” if ______?
I never thought myself as a “VBS Geek” but I guess I am. After every preview I begin praying, thinking about ideas/decorations, looking for items, and starting to work on lesson plans for my 3-4 year old class. My mind is in VBS mode until after VBS. And now that I know that the next years theme will be announced on June 2nd, I will get in VBS mode even earlier.

Every opportunity I get between now and VBS, I will wear my Amazing Wonders Aviation logo and airplane, my VBS button and bracelet to tell everyone about VBS and God. The other night at my grand-daughters Up Ward basketball game I wore my black vest with the VBS logo on the back. A lady asked me who I worked for and what I did, as she had never seen that logo before. I told her that “I worked for Jesus” and strove to do what He wants me to do. Then I explained about VBS and the theme this year. I love talking with others about Jesus, what He has done and VBS.

Who would have ever thought a girl from Lake Martin Baptist Church, Dadeville, Alabama could be voted as “VBS Geek”. It truly has been a Blessing for me and our VBS group, not to mention the opportunity to tell others of Jesus. I thank God and want to thank you again for this opportunity and experience.

Will we continue to see you at one of the VBS previews?
Lord willing and the lake doesn’t rise!

Paula Royal (aka Liz)
“2012 VBS Geek of The Week”
Lake Martin Baptist Church
Dadeville, Al

Old Blue – Taking VBS to the World!

Please meet Old Blue. He may look like a used up old trunk to you but he has served as a faithful and trusted LifeWay Christian Resources, Wichita-Archer-Clay Baptist Association, Camp Reach Vacation Bible School and Reach English Camp friend.

During the winter of 2011 Old Blue carried a heavy load of both Big Apple and Beach Blast materials from Sea to Shining Sea and from Music City to Cow Town. He even got lost during the Ice Storm of the century but thankfully found his way home. He had a hard time telling the nice man in brown that Wichita, Kansas was not the same as Wichita Falls, Texas!!

Just when he thought it was time to rest he was then called upon to obtain a passport and navigate his way across the Pacific Ocean to South Korea. He was loaded down with materials and supplies that were donated by the great churches here in Wichita-Archer-Clay and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Old Blue served bravely and unselfishly in the amazing city of Seoul at Kangnam Central Baptist Church. He carried not only the life saving gospel messages found in the Big Apple Adventure but also ESL materials used at Reach English Camp. American teachers and lay leaders from Texas, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee were able to share hands-on the lessons of how Faith, Life and Language can connect. Because of the connection 24 children said they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ.

After 20 busy days in Seoul he was then loaded on a bus by his new Korean guardian Hyejung “P.J.” Yun to share his valuable life changing contents with churches in the southern Korean provinces. Children all throughout South Korea can now be seen wearing green foam Statue of Liberty crowns, finding their way in the dark with Big Apple taxi flashlights and rapping “Why Don’t You”!!

Oh, but wait, he was not finished – he was called upon one last time to pass through airport security to enter the country of Cambodia! Old Blue had the honor of not only taking the message of Christ to the children of Cambodia through the avenue of Vacation Bible School he also was given the responsibility of carrying life saving medical and dental supplies for the Medical Mission teams from Kangnam. He was a long way from North Central Texas but the contents he carried had been prayed over and prepared from the hearts and hands of Wichita-Archer-Clay churches.

Old Blue may look a little battered and weary, but like most of us who have traveled a few miles and back again for Vacation Bible School- we like Old Blue are ready to peel off the old tape, pack up or supplies, refresh our testimony and do it all over again!! New themes, new adventures, new friends, – but always sharing and carrying the same life saving and life changing story – Jesus.

I challenge you to be praying about your part of Vacation Bible School 2012. Like Old Blue, where might it take you?

In His Sight,
Debbie Heck and Old Blue

Foto Friday. . .VBS Logos! ! !

Hi everyone! It’s your fun-loving VBS graphic designer (who happens to love numbers as well. . .I know, I’m weird) and it’s that time of the week. . .Foto Friday!!! Why do I bring up the, “I love numbers” thing? I’m glad you asked! As Carol has stated in her “VBS By the Numbers” post, I like to check the number of views my blog posts receive and I’ve realized that my “Clip Art” post has had a lot of views! I also field a lot of calls, emails, etc about people wanting the past VBS logos.

So, I decided this week will be the VBS logos from 1997 (Good New Stampede) to 2012 (Amazing Wonders Aviation)! By the way, I have worked on every single one except Good News Stampede! My first day at LifeWay was the very first day of writer’s conference for StarQuest.

 

1997's Good News Stampede

1998's StarQuest

1999 Mt. Extreme

 

2000's Ocean Odyssey

 

2001's Truth Trackers

 

2002's Amazon Outfitters

 

2003's Kingdom Capers

 

2004's Rickshaw Rally

 

2005' Ramblin' Road Trip

 

2006's Arctic Edge

 

2007's Game Day Central

 

2008's Outrigger Island

 

2009's Boomerang Express

 

2010's Saddle Ridge Ranch

 

2011's Big Apple Adventure

 

2012's Amazing Wonders Aviation

First Official Geek of the Week – Debbie Muller

I am so excited that I get to introduce one of my Illinois friends as the First Official VBS Geek of the WeekDebbie Muller works for the Illinois Baptist State Association in Springfield, Illinois and is a MEGA VBS FAN. She got our team’s attention at previews with her custom designed VBS jewelry. (Check out that subway token bling on her ears! Debbie is the one on the right.)

Debbie's VBS Bling!

Illinois hosts one of our earliest early bird conferences and Debbie volunteers every year to get things ready… in a BIG WAY!! Jerry Wooley often comes “back to the ranch” with tales about how they outdid themselves again this year. Here’s evidence of one of his IL trips! According to Debbie, this fully operational bull ride was given to one of the IL cowboy churches after Saddle Ridge Ranch was over. I guess VBS rides again!

Ride 'em, Jerry!

I asked Debbie some questions about her passion for VBS. Here’s part of our interview:

Me: What has been your “geekiest” VBS moment?

Debbie: For Arctic Edge we borrowed a moose head and hauled it all the way across town in the back of a pick-up truck. Oh, the looks we got!! We had to work to hang the thing with moving straps, then carefully suggest that folks might not want to stand under it… just in case!

(She also had great stories about big foam medical boxes she got for free, but covered up so much of the windshield, she could hardly see out. Or driving all over Illinois with a car filled with surfboards… think about that one for a minute and it’ll hit you! Or driving down the interstate with a Ramblin’ Road Trip travel trailer in the bed of her pickup truck! She had me laughing so hard I think I disturbed all my hallway office neighbors!)

Me: What is your favorite VBS theme to date?

Debbie: That’s hard because I like them all. But, I really like Ramblin’ Road Trip because I had actually been to all those places and had pictures and stories to share.

Me: What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?

Debbie: I just love it. It’s hard to explain – it’s like chocolate, you just gotta have it! I just have that much fun with it.

Me: How would you complete this sentence? You might be a VBS Geek if …

Debbie: You can sing ALL the VBS songs. My knees still hurt when I sing “Jehovah Jireh.” I don’t do rap, but I rapped John 3:16!

Love that VBS music!

Me: Will we see you at one of the VBS Previews?

Debbie: I’m bringing a van full to Nashville! I’m helping as a volunteer in Expo! Woo hoo!

Debbie (on the right) loves takin' it to the streets!!


Debbie’s enthusiasm was contagious as she talked about past VBS experiences and the “it’ll do everything but fly” airplane her husband is building for Amazing Wonders Aviation next year. But, what really impressed me the most was her true spirit of what VBS is all about – telling kids about Jesus. Debbie not only volunteers to help with state and local training of workers, but she works!! Debbie volunteers at 3 or 4 VBS’s every summer in addition to working in her own church’s VBS. Now THAT’S passion!

Thanks, Debbie, for all you do for the Kingdom! And for saying, “Yeh-yeh-yeh-yeh- yes! to Vuh-vuh-vuh-VBS!!”

VBS Turned Their Church Around

One of the most rewarding aspects of providing resources for churches is hearing stories. God continues to bless through the ministry of VBS. A good friend sent in the following story written by Kiely Young of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. Enjoy and dream big! VBS does turn churches (and communities) around!

Pastor Bob Hill has been at Roundaway Baptist Church “out from” Indianola, Mississippi about three years. He came out of retirement to be the Interim Pastor of this church. The Pastor Search Committee stopped looking and just asked Bro. Bob to stay a while. He has.

He looked at the church calendar and noticed they did not have Vacation Bible School on the summer calendar. When he asked why, the response was, “We don’t have any children, so we don’t need to have VBS.” They had not had VBS in twenty-three years. Bro. Bob reminded them there were still strong elementary schools in the area and they were full, so there must be children in the area. He asked them to consider VBS again. They reluctantly agreed.

Bro. Bob enlisted two people, a VBS Director and a VBS Prayer Leader. He wanted to meet with them and ask God what to do. The church averaged about 40 in Sunday School. He wanted them praying for VBS. They determined they needed to do three things: Pray, Prepare, and Promote. Their story is amazing.

As they prayed they were impressed to enlist workers for at least fifty children, maybe more. They needed to contact every family in a five mile radius of the church and estimate how many children to expect. They did. They enlisted more workers. They promoted in the elementary schools, in grocery stores, convenience stores, everywhere they thought they might get the attention of children and parents of children.

They were not disappointed. They had 80 children for their first VBS in 23 years. Ten of those children were led to Christ and their families began coming to church and Sunday School. They grew from 40 to 60 in Sunday School! VBS worked. They followed up with every family who visited their VBS within the next week.

I asked Bro. Bob what he considered to be the more important thing they are doing. He said Vacation Bible School turned their church around. This year he brought twenty new leaders to our VBS training. They went back and trained the other leaders in their church. He said we keep VBS before our people year round. Oh yes…They had 80 children the second year and twenty came to Christ.

______________

Kiely Young is the Director of the Sunday School Department for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

September 11th Remembered

Hi everyone! I know that I’m usually blogging on Friday (Foto Friday) but I think I would be remissed if I did not share a word with you all on the 10th anniversary of Setember 11th.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post all day, trying to figure out what to say.

I thought I could talk about where I was when it all happened. . .I was in my office at LifeWay huddled around a TV watching the events unfold.

I thought I could talk about how we (the VBS team) almost produced an NYC theme for 2010 but we felt the Lord saying, “not yet” and then how He brought Big Apple Adventure together for 2011.

I thought I could talk about the solemn walk I took by myself around Ground Zero, while we were on a photo shoot trip to NYC last year for Big Apple Adventure. While walking. . .saying a silent prayer.

But as I was trying to figure out what to say, I pulled up this year’s Biblical content and it kind of spoke to me, particularly Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.

Day 3: Connect with Trust!

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (HCSB)

This date changed everybody. It changed how we view the world. But even though our world changed, the Lord is still Lord. Jesus still died on the cross for us. And He still loves us tremendously!

Day 4: Connect with Others!

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)

The last part of this verse spoke to me. No matter what happens, He is always there. While the events of that day were unfolding, He was there. Do you all remember the Footprints poem. . .particularly the end of the poem? “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Day 5: Connect with Life!

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave and strong. Your every action must be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (HCSB)

We all must be alert and stand firm in our faith. We need to remember that the Lord is always in control.  “Be brave and strong”. . . I just read this as, He’s got your back!

As we observe the 10th anniversary of September 11th, remember that the Lord:

  1. loves us
  2. He will be with us, to the end of the age
  3. He is always in control. . .He’s got our back (I’m not a theologian but this is what the verse said to me)

Thank you for reading my post, I hope that you all take time to remember and say a prayer for our country. God Bless!

This blog post is dedicated to everyone who was effected by 9/11/01. . .to the firefighter’s, worker’s, police officers lost in the twin towers; to the passengers/flight crews of Flights 11, 175, 77, 93; to the personal lost at the Pentagon; to the families of the lost.

Foto Friday. . .More Photos!

Let’s do some math! What do you get when you add Friday and Photos together? Here it is in equation format: Friday + Photos = Foto Friday! w00t!

This week, I was surfing our VBS Facebook page, looking at the photos and I came across several more that I really like!

So, here we go. . .!

Now this is just cute!

Wow! I love this painting! Great job!

Cool! Someone did my "Subway Tiles" from my Crafts set I built for the catalog!

Very creative for next year's VBS!

Carol! How many Diet Mt. Dew's did you drink today! ?! ! ?

Sorry, I HAD to post this photo of Carol! lol!

Is Rhonda "working"? LOL!

This is SUPER funny! Great Job!

Foto Friday. . .Volunteers! ! !

Volunteer. What does this word mean to you? Merriam Webster defines the word as “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service”.

VBS volunteers are incredible! This last year at my VBS, I witnessed so many volunteers helping out in any way possible! Youth helping in the younger classes. . . adults teaching/decorating. . .senior adults teaching, counting pennies, serving snacks (even serving snacks to the volunteers!). . .even kids helping decorate!

A volunteer’s enthusiasm, energy and willingness is incredible! They are like a shot of adrenaline!

I’m not a trained theologian but I would imagine a VBS director’s verse might be:

Judges 5:2 When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord.

So, here’s to all the unsung heroes of VBS. . .the volunteers! Thank you! ! !

 

I like this photo. . .VBS present and looking forward to the future!

Connecting Faith and Life

Meet Ana Melendez. Ana teaches VBS in lots of ways . . . as a national and state leader/trainer for our Spanish materials, and by teaching VBS on mission trips and in her own church in the Chicago area. We asked Ana to share some of her favorite stories. Read on . . .

“While in Guatemala, our team went to this town called Guazacapán. Here we worked and spread the gospel with more than 350 kids. It was honestly really amazing to see over 350 kids singing along to songs from The Big Apple Adventure in Spanish and how they even followed the choreography and steps. On that specific day, between the women and kids, 30 of them made the amazing decision to accept Christ as their personal Savior, and many more lives were impacted at this event.

“Our VBS back at home was held June 13-17. In my adult VBS class on Wednesday, the day of evangelism, this young man came to my class and he was a totally new face and person to the church. He was putting a great deal of attention to the class and seemed very intrigued. When I asked who wanted to accept Jesus to come into their lives and hearts, this new face immediately responded to the call of the Lord, and he, on the day of evangelism, became a son of God. I asked the class to come to the front and welcome this new believer to the family of God. It was amazing to see the ladies from the church take this total stranger and give him hugs, advice, and words of encouragement on what it really means to become a Christian. Praise the LORD for the miraculous ways he works in people’s lives.

“It was also so nice to see Camila, a 5-year old-girl who came to VBS with her older sister and brother. Camila came early every single day, and she waited at the door of the church for her teacher. She didn’t want to miss any of the Bible studies of the week. For Camila, music was fun, games were fun, snack she enjoyed them, but in Bible Study, I am really sure that the Lord touched Camila’s life in a wonderful way.”

Thanks, Ana, for letting us tell your story. Connecting faith and life . . . what’s your favorite Big Apple story?