First of all, this blog post is way over due. The last blog post was posted on November 17th, 2013. That was a month and a day ago. I know that I’ve been slipping in the frequency of blog posts lately… but over a month? No excuses, Ricky. You have readers out there. And since I’m leaving on a jet plane tomorrow this is pretty much the last opportunity. So here is what I call “The Unedited Version of My Experiences at Vacation Bible School El Chal 2013, All Summed Up in a Easy-to-Read, Brief but Detailed Form.” I’m all for concise titles.
Day one (Dec 2)
Well, I guess before I start with the actual days, I should explain how the event was organized and what my duties were. Lydia Zook had everything really well organized in “Stations.” Two people were in charge of each station (activities, coloring, story, craft, snack, and craft. There were two time slots for craft. Unfortunately. That was foreshadowing. Learned about it in grade twelve. Keep reading) and two people in charge of each age group. Pedro and I were given the 13 years and older boys, so our job was take them from station to station and keep them under control. Easy, right?
Day one (still Dec 2 but for real this time)
- · Just so you don’t get too confused, I’m going to tell you right away… each day will be described in the form of bullets. May as well get used to it.
- · Up until about five minutes before starting time, Pedro and I thought we were going to only have one student. Not because 13+ boys didn’t show up, but because we were standing in the wrong spot. But seriously, the boys should have obeyed the location of the teachers and not the sign that said “13+ boys line up here”
- · We gave each boy a nametag. Nametag. That is one word according to my spellcheck. I bet you didn’t know that before!
- · Just before entering the school for the start of Bible school, five or six teenage boys showed up that are kind of known as the “bad guys” in these parts.
- · The first half of the day went rather well. The boys behaved through the assembly, activities, and the colouring. I couldn’t believe that they just sat there quietly and coloured. I guess tough guys wear pink and like to colour.
- · Then we headed to snack. They were pretty good there, too. I could have probably included “snack” in the last point but it’s too late for that since this is the unedited version.
- · Then we headed to craft. That was a mad house. And it was for 40 minutes instead of 20.
- · Story time with Stephan went really well after that because Stephan is just cool like that.
- · Finally everybody was gone, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
- · Stephan told me that it only gets worse from here.
Day two (Dec 3)
- · This time Pedro and I were on the ball, and we stood in the right spot.
- · A few more “bad” guys showed up but that didn’t faze me. Much.
- · The first half of the day went well again. They behaved only a little bit worse in the first four classes. I thought they did all right in snack but the cook did not agree. More on that later.
- · Then it was time for crafts. I can’t remember what the project was called but it involved smearing cement onto a board and then “drawing” a picture with broken pieces of glass. When done right, it looks really awesome. When done by a bunch of teenagers who couldn’t care less… different story. Basically, all the bigger meaner ones hogged all the materials from the smaller, calmer ones that actually wanted to work. Kendra Martin, the teacher, did a great job of organizing it and explaining it, but 25 boys yelling and running around being a pain was just too much. We decided something would need to change.
- · Stephan calmed them down again in the story time with a lesson on “feet washing.” I admire that guy.
Day 3 (Dec 4. Just by adding one to each day number, you could figure out what the date was, and I wouldn’t have to type so much)
- · In our staff meeting before starting time on day 3, the cook mentioned that she didn’t appreciate the way my group of boys acted during the snack time. She suggested that I take them to eat in a different place. On the other side of the property, on the street, it didn’t matter to her as long as they didn’t eat in the kitchen. I had to agree.
- · The first half of the day went all right, only slightly worse that day 2.
- · When it came time for snack time, we grabbed our watermelon pieces, and headed for a walk on the street. Every once in a while I had them stop and recite memory work. When they finished their watermelon pieces, of course they started throwing them at each other, but the cook was okay with it, because we were far away.
- · When we got back and it was time for craft, I told them that we were going to do things a little differently. I then divided them into two groups. I just said, “You go here. You go there…” and sneakily put all the bad guys in one group. Then I told the good group to go follow Pedro and do the craft like normal. “And you guys,” I said to the bad group, “Will be coming with me.”
- · I then took them to the street and told them that they weren’t behaving well at all yesterday in craft class. I said that I didn’t want to chew them out, just take a break for craft. Then I gave them two options. Go home, or do activities with me. “No one wants to go home.” They told me. So I pulled a long piece of twine out of my backpack, and told everybody to grab on to it, and run until I said stop. I heard them saying, “Hey, let’s pull on it so he can’t run!” and they did. “Oh yeah,” I said, “One more thing. You can cooperate in my activities or I can send you home right now.” They ran. I had written five activities on five pieces of paper and put them in a container. After a while, we stopped running and I had one of the guys pull out a paper. The activities involved “Ninja”, “spoon and tennis ball” relay, the “Cuando yo a la selva fui” chant, the “everywhere we go!” chant loosely translated into Spanish, and “red light/green light.” I actually had fun, and I think the boys did too.
- · They listened during story time. (See a pattern going on here?)
Day 4 (Dec 6)
- · Actually, it was the fifth. That was a test to see if you were paying attention to my math idea from the previous day. I hope you didn’t have to scroll up and double check.
- · Junior, one of the main bad boys didn’t show up. I didn’t miss him but kind of did miss him at the same time.
- · The first half of the day of the day went all right.
- · In fact, the whole day did!
- · In craft, the good guys worked on their craft in one room while the bad buys worked on their crafts in another room. Although they weren’t angels, they did get some stuff done.
- · Story was great.
- · I decided that I kind of liked vacation bible school.
Day 5 (Dec 6. The final day)
- · The whole day went fairly smoothly as far as I can remember.
- · Junior didn’t show up on this day either.
- · I was able to look at some of the boys and find changes in them from the first day to the last. That was encouraging.
- · And since this is the unedited version I can say this here and it’s is okay. The highest number of kids that came was 267 on Wednesday.
It was pretty amazing to be a part of God working in the lives of so many children… And although I lot of the boys in my group came just to be annoying and get attention, I like to think that in each one of them a seed was planted; that each one of them took something away from the week that they wouldn’t have if the event wouldn’t have happened. Let’s pray that God would continue to work in their lives!