Published Sun, Jul 14, 19.
Written by Scott Chleborad.
What would make 500 kids give up their first week of summer vacation? The answer is Vacation Bible School at Adams Thermal Academy in Hosanna, Ethiopia!
For the 2nd year in a row, children from the Academy and the local Hosanna community showed up for four days of music, singing, crafts, story-telling, games and food. Grades kindergarten through 8th learned about Queen Esther, Moses, the Woman at the Well and Adam & Eve. Grades 9 through 12th learned about the seven "I AM" statements from the Gospel of John. Crafts included tambourines, zebras and lion manes. Games included freeze tag and the chance to learn about American football.
Central Church from Sioux Falls, SD provided leadership and coordination while other volunteers came from the U.S. and the capital city of Addis Ababa. A total of 34 helpers including Academy teachers made sure the week was fun, encouraging and sent every child home with the message that "Jesus Loves Us"! And because Jesus loves us, we can be brave, joyful and saved! Many of the supplies needed for VBS were brought over from the U.S. in the luggage of volunteers. International flights allow a total of 100 lbs. of luggage per person. So lots of construction paper, glue sticks, crayons, balls and paper plates made the 7,000 mile journey in order to minister to children and their families. The weight of the supplies going over was great, but the rewards were even greater.
Adams Thermal Foundation launched their VBS program in Ethiopia in 2018 with the hope of engaging volunteers from the United States to come and share their time and talent with the "poorest of the poor" in Hosanna. Volunteers at this year's VBS commented on how even the simplest things, such as coloring a picture, brought extreme joy to the children attending. "They're like 500 sponges running around soaking up everything we can give them," said another volunteer. And the joy was contagious, filling the hearts and minds of everyone involved.