Tales from the VBS Road Trip
By Marc Ira Hooks
Associate Missions Strategist/Director of Communication
There is nothing more Southern Baptist than Vacation Bible School (VBS.) Some of my earliest memories of church come from VBS. My mother was known in our church as “The Cookie Monster.” As school was coming to an end, she would begin collecting (hoarding is probably a better word) cookies and Kool-Aid to feed the numerous kids who would come through our church for a week filled with Bible study, crafts, games…and cookies.
When I was commissioned as an IMB missionary, I fondly recalled my early memories of missions education – standing on the stage during VBS as one of the volunteers chosen to act out the mission story of the day. They would dress one of us in rags that had been “bloodied” by catsup while another would don a white lab coat, stethoscope, and one of those reflector thingies that old-fashioned doctors would wear. Then we would act out the story as the leaders shared about how the missionary-doctor traveled to a foreign land to bind the wounds of the broken. And how Jesus, just like that doctor, can heal our spiritual needs as well as our physical needs.
Years later, I found myself dressed in my own missionary costume – a parka, and Russian-style fur hat – sitting next to some women who had made their way through the ice, snow, and bitter winds of Siberia to draw water from the village well. I shared with them about the one who brings living water. You see, a week of VBS will not just provide experiences that change the lives of children who attend, it has the potential to change hundreds or thousands of lives around the globe.
I traveled more than 1,000 miles over Collin County roads this summer during The VBS Road Trip and managed to visit 24 of the many CBA Church Network churches who hosted VBS for their neighborhoods. Though the theme was often the same, the VBS experience from church to church was vastly different. However, the one thing each had in common is that young lives were being changed through the transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On one stop, the pastor left me abruptly minutes before our live video broadcast because a young man had just indicated he wanted to talk about how to accept Jesus as his lord and savior. On another stop, one of the children talked about how scared John the Baptist must have felt to baptize Jesus because he realized Jesus was the Son of God. And during a visit to an adult VBS (yes, that is a thing) a young man gave testimony about how Jesus appeared to him while he was in a coma, and now his life’s mission is to proclaim the Gospel.
This summer, countless girls, boys, women, and men in Collin County came face-to-face with a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ…and that is what VBS and the work of the CBA Church Network churches is all about, the transformational work of Jesus in the lives of our neighbors.
See you next year on The VBS Road Trip – 2020!