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

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.

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?

VBS Kits for Kids–Connecting Kids Who Care with Kids in Need

It’s mid-August and that means it’s been back-to-school time for many states. That also means many families have done some back-to-school shopping! Number 2 pencils, scissors, and rulers may have been on the list! These items were also on the list of needed supplies for the VBS Kits for Kids project that many churches participated in as part of the Missions Rotation of Big Apple Adventure. The kits for kids collected during VBS have been making their way to the warehouse in Richmond, Virginia. Over 5600 kits have been received as you can see from this Web site: www.vbskitsforkids.com. However, if your church has not mailed your kits to the warehouse, many more kits are still needed. The deadline for shipping the kits to the warehouse is October 31, 2011.

The address to mail the kits is: Baptist Global Response, c/o A&O Services, 2109 Loumour Avenue, Richmond, VA  23230-4109. From this warehouse, the kits will be mailed to children living outside the U.S. to children who need educational supplies in order to attend school. Many of these children may be living in poverty areas, where their families cannot afford to purchase these supplies or in areas of recent disasters, where the supplies are not available.

Also, if your church collected offerings to help with this project, you can mail a check to Baptist Global Response, 402 BNA Drive, Suite 411, Nashville, TN 37217 or make a donation online at www.gobgr.org. These offerings will help with shipping costs to get these supplies to children who really need them.

If you are looking for a mission project for your kids to be involved in, between now and the end of October, you can find the shopping list of school supplies for the kits for kids at: www.baptistglobalresponse.com/kitsforkids/pdf/shopping%20list.pdf. More kits are needed and it’s a great way to connect kids who care with kids in need!

Make the Connection From VBS to Bible Drill

Got any Big Apple Curriculum laying around? Want to help your kids learn Bible verses in a fun way? If you answered yes to those questions then why not pull those leaders guides back out and find some ready made activites that you can adapt with any Bible verse.

Oh, what’s that? You already gave away your curriculum. No worries, Sue Harmon with the South Carolina Baptist Convention recently contacted us about an article on their site that connects activities from the Big Apple to use with Bible Drill. Check it out here.

As you can see,  there are lots of great ideas for adapting VBS teaching resources to be used with Bible Drill, Wednesday night fillers, or anytime you need a great way to reinforce Bible skills. Share with us how you have used VBS teaching materials at other times.

Connecting Faith and Life

So what do you do when an unexpected crisis comes along? James Blakeney, Alabama Baptist Children’s Consultant, sent us this Big Apple story from Beth Yates and First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa.

“After the tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 27, 2011, we didn’t feel right about going about business as usual, especially when it came to VBS. So many churches were damaged, and others were in Disaster Relief support.  We decided to take VBS out to the community areas that were hardest hit by the tornado. We wanted to provide some positive activities for kids who still lived in those communities—something that was for them and not about the storm. We also wanted to encourage churches in the hardest hit areas that may not have been able to do VBS on their own.

“We contacted the pastors of Rosedale Baptist Church, The Soma Church, and Alberta Baptist Church, and they were very interested in partnering with us to provide VBS in their communities. Our student ministry also led a backyard Bible club for a mostly Hispanic neighborhood.

“The result was outstanding! The attendance and enrollment grew each day, with our highest attendance on Thursday—710! We were surprised at the number of older kids (above grade 6) who were attracted to VBS activities. We were able to give a Bible to every kid in VBS, cookies and Kool-Aid®, and even lunches at some locations. Our congregation could not have been more supportive.

“Everyone was encouraged by the workers from the other churches and by the kids who participated and their families. Even on the hottest days while they were working hard, many of our workers began to say things like, ‘This is the best VBS ever!’ ‘We should always do VBS this way!’ and ‘We need to do things like this more than once a year!’”

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

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Wait! Don’t pack away that inflatable Statue of Liberty or all those little yellow inflatable taxi cabs decorating your church.  Just because the teaching, singing, craft making fun of VBS is complete, doesn’t mean we’re done. There’s still lots left to do to connect all those prospects discovered during the week to an on going relationship with your church and our Savior and Lord. Remember that small little tag line that comes after Big Apple Adventure—Where Faith and Life Connect? Well, now is the time to help “connect” the biblical truths taught during VBS with real life! Following up with  those who visited during VBS is a vital part of successfully completing your VBS experience.

Check out Chapter 4 in the VBS 2011 Administrative Guide to find Follow-up Strategies and helps. Or check out some of these tips from previous posts here, here, and here.

What are some of your favorite Follow-up Strategies? We would love to hear them!