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Roaring like a Lion- VBS at the The Bridge

July 11, 2012 by Angela Vincent

“My God is not dead! He’s surely alive! He’s living on the inside. Roaring like a lion!” These very words were shouted in worship from the lips of 300+ kids and volunteers almost every day during Vacation Bible School (VBS) this summer at The Bridge (church) in Chino, CA. To be able to plant that truth in their minds to a beat and rhythm is almost guaranteed success for remembering it days, weeks and months later. The reason we do VBS? To plant truths like this and to watch God move! And move He did! Like a lion! I’m quite positive each kid walked off the campus with a contented heart full of love and fond memories every day.

I’m humbled to have this opportunity to testify of God’s amazing love and faithfulness that overflowed on and from our campus the last week in June. I’m Kay Hilt, the Director of Children’s Ministries and the Director of Mission at The Bridge in Chino. And I have had the amazing privilege of partnering with ELI over the past several years which include sponsoring two girls from Ilula, leading two teams to Ilula in 2007 & 2009 as well as interning in Ilula for a month in July 2010. I am truly blessed to be in relationship with everyone at ELI.

Along with powerful truths from scripture, those who were part of VBS also got a look at what it’s like to be a child in the D.R. Congo as ELI Staff Katie Cook delivered an interactive story and encouraged the children to bring some change in every day to help feed kids in the D.R. Congo. They learned that for just $0.05 they could provide one meal for a child. I heard countless stories . . .

. . . Children who emptied their piggy banks of months worth of savings so they could be part of providing a meal. And it made me smile to hear that the parents of those same children tried to talk them out of giving ALL their money. This is why God tells us to be like children. Their hearts are pure and giving. When the parents heard the pleas of their children saying, “But I HAVE food, they DON’T! I want to give them food!” They couldn’t help but let them give it all.

. . . A pair of cousins went to their grandparents home, took all the bags of recycling away to collect the money, returned home to count it and figure out how many meals they could provide with the proceeds, had a time of worship while the jammed with their grandpa playing guitar and ended the night in prayer. You can imagine the tears streaming down the faces of the grandma and grandpa, can’t you? To see their grandchildren love in such a way!

. . . A second grader went home after the second day and said, “Today I fed 20 kids in Africa!”. Her mom said she was so excited about that and wanted to give all her birthday money the next day. She told her she couldn’t think of a better way to spend it.

. . . Another 2nd grade girl that had been raising and saving money for two years because she wanted to provide mosquito nets for people in Africa. But when she arrived at VBS the first day and heard that we were going to be raising money to provide food for children in the D.R. Congo she eagerly went home and with a joyful heart she emptied every last penny to bring back the next day. Her mother said she couldn’t have been more proud.

. . . A family of sibling’s who decided, on their own, to go around door to door in their neighborhood to collect money ended up with $30! The oldest of the siblings came running up to me the next morning with the exciting news! She was beaming from ear to ear at the though of being able to help feed her friends in the D.R. Congo!

Each day the children would have a time to bring forward their gifts and place them in a bucket that was the same color as their group. Just to make it more fun, we made it into a bit of a competition. The members of the winning team color would get to write their name on a small paper plate. Each plate represented 200 meals. We then placed all of the paper plates on the wall so the kids could visualize the beauty of their gifts. As you can see from the pictures, a lot of money was raised, thus a lot of meals will be purchased — all because of the compassionate hearts of the children loving God with reckless abandon.

God wants us all to be that way. He was alive and roaring in the hearts of these children causing them to have compassion for friends they’ve never met. He encouraged me and countless other adults that week to live with such reckless abandon of love toward Him – just like the precious children who together in 4 days raised just over $2,600 to help feed children in the D.R. Congo.

To learn more about bringing ELI to your VBS or other Children’s Programs, contact Katie Cook at katiecook@empoweringlives.org.

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Categories: DR Congo Empowering Lives USA Office Vulnerable Children