What A Wonderful God He Is!
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalms 46:10-11)
God is a God who gives us hope when everyone else says, “No, you can’t make it happen.” God is a God who gives us strength and wisdom to move forward when everyone else says, “You are facing a dead end.” We have experienced again “how wonderful God is” through our Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Having VBS and extending our children’s ministry has been a significant prayer of mine since I was appointed to the Upper St. Croix Parish: Central-Grantsburg, Atlas, and St. Croix Falls United Methodist Churches. Our three churches have such great histories, with a period of great ministry. Many still remember that era; some attended Sunday school with many peers; some confirmed with many youths; some married at the church. Yes, our churches have your memories and histories. As our life journey does, our churches have also faced several crises. However, God was there every moment with your prayers. Our churches survive as long as your prayers and commitments are there. The church grows through your prayers and obligations even though the church is the body of Christ.
I want to share what happened at VBS this year and how it worked for us. I heard several negative comments and faced several challenges preparing for VBS this year. However, we kept going forward with prayers. Our first challenge was to get funds to administrate VBS. Our Youth Director, Shayna Schmid, joyfully accepted my suggestion to work together for VBS. She and I applied for a grant, and God provided us a grant for VBS through the Wisconsin Foundation.
After receiving the grant, our second challenge was for many volunteers to work together; some negative comments were: “I think we can’t make it because we don’t have enough people to work on it.” However, I said, “Who knows. The God who sent us money may send us the people of God who will work together.” Then, three church members signed up to work together and God even sent us a worship team and young adult volunteers from Wood Lake Camp. We had more than twenty volunteers!
Then, we faced another challenge with the space: as per our plan, we needed more than six rooms for each group’s bible study and activities. One day, Barbara Loomis and I walked through the sanctuary, Wesleyan Hall, kitchen Hall, nursery room, and many other rooms used by Sunday school and the youth group a long time ago, but now looked like storage rooms. I said, “I wish we could use these all rooms for children and youth ministry again.” The next day, when I went to the church, I saw all the rooms were cleaned and ready to use. I called Barbara Loomis to ask what happened. She said she talked with some church members, and they came and joyfully cleaned and made the rooms ready for the VBS. Wow, we were really ready for VBS!
However, another challenge followed: We had just six kids registered for VBS. Our grant was for twenty kids and twenty volunteers. However, we had just six kids. We were a little worried that we wouldn’t receive the grant because we had fewer kids. We prayed God would send fifteen kids at least to ensure we received the grant. And then, when it was the first day, we had twelve younger kids and five youth kids. Wow, God is such a perfect God!
VBS was held from August 7th to 10th; the church was full of crowds with joyful noise. As my wish, all rooms were used by the children and youth during VBS. What a wonderful God He is! We know God is terrific; prayer is powerful. However, whenever we face challenges, we hold the challenges and our worries, instead of hope and prayers. I hope you may see God’s grace is greater than our worries. Praise the Lord, who is always at our side and listening to our prayers!
In the love of Jesus Christ, we worked together! By the grace of God, we made VBS happen! Praise the Lord, what a wonderful God He is! Thank you to all the volunteers! You made it happen!