Members of the First Baptist Church of Troup took community children on a Shipwrecked vacation Bible school adventure beginning Sunday, June 3, and ending Wednesday, June 6. The church taught students four years old through sixth grade that Jesus rescues you from loneliness, worry, struggles, when you do wrong and when you feel powerless.
The dates for the vacation Bible school were chosen in an effort to complete the event before the weather got too hot and families began taking their vacations, according to Mandy Braswell who, along with Stephanie Lockey, served as director.
The 77 volunteers, which included 20-plus teenagers, incorporated games, crafts, snacks and music into the VBS program. Each class of students rotated through the different activities intended to reinforce the Bible lessons. A short video was also used to relate each lesson to current situations students may face. Though this is the first year the church has used curriculum from Group Publishing, Braswell reports the students really loved it.
Some of the student volunteers who assisted with music and assemblies were known as the castaway crew. On the final night of vacation Bible school, they also became human hot dogs.
A contest was held between the boys and the girls to see which team could bring in more offerings, with the money designated to go to Troup Elementary for the purchase of school supplies. The winning team of the offering contest would be allowed to squirt mustard and ketchup on the human hot dogs.
The total offering raised for Troup Elementary was $469.50. The boys and girls tied, each bringing the same amount, and were all allowed take part in dressing the human hot dogs with condiments following the final night of the program Wednesday, June 6. The after celebration also included water games, inflatables, popcorn, snow cones and hot dogs to eat.
Following Bible school, volunteers removed the decorations and passed them on to a church in Palestine for their use.
“It was a really special time,” Braswell commented on the vacation Bible school. “The kids really enjoyed it, the workers as well.”
Though some of the students were members at First Baptist Church, most of them came from the Troup community with an average of 150 children attending each night.
“This is our third year as directors and the first year we’ve known that some have come to Christ,” Braswell stated after reporting eight students had accepted Jesus as their savior.
Besides directing vacation Bible school, Braswell also serves as Sunday school director and Lockey is a Sunday school teacher and sings in the choir. Braswell said the experience of vacation Bible school had “reenergized” them and made them “excited and ready for next year.”