Wrangell Encourages Bethel Kids

August 30, 2021 | Youth | Tess Dudley

A mission-minded team of seven pulled together to organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children in Bethel, Alaska. The theme this year was “God Makes Me Brave" and it focused on the stories of Joshua. Children learned how God helped Joshua and other Bible characters to be brave. 

Among the VBS leadership team was Brooke Reynolds, Jackie Eilertsen and Stephanie Kowalske from Wrangell, Alaska; Tess Dudley from Anchorage, Alaska; sisters Hannah and Sarah Klingbeil from Silver Springs, Maryland; and Logan Carle from Canon City, Colorado. The team was organized by Wrangell Seventh-day Adventist Church and Alaska Camps.

This was the seventh year that Wrangell Church helped to plan and put on VBS in Bethel. The Bethel Adventist Church hosts the event, helps with registration and provides rides to kids if needed. Last year the team was unable to do VBS in the village due to COVID-19 restrictions, so this year they were excited to return to the community on the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska.

Each evening, about 16 kids, ages 5–13, arrived to participate in games and crafts, hear stories and sing and praise the Lord. The stories were always acted out by the adults in costume playing Bible characters while children had a role in the acting as well. Logan was nominated and accepted the task of playing the character of Joshua for the week, but sometimes he appeared as other characters as well.

With a team of seven, the adults had to get creative and reimagine the small set of costumes available so they could portray each story and character as vividly as possible.

The first night's story was called “Rahab and the Spies,” the second night's was “Crossing the Jordan River,” the third night's was “The Walls of Jericho.” The fourth story was acted out on Sabbath morning and was called “Joshua’s Mistake.”

The children learned about bravery, faith, perseverance, forgiveness and other character traits. Most of all, they learned of God’s love through the stories and interactions with the caring adults who, with God’s help, made VBS possible.

By the end of the week, the children had learned many of the songs and hand motions, especially for the theme song, “Be Bold, Be Strong.” An important line in the song, “for the Lord your God is with you,” perfectly tied together the VBS theme, “God Makes Me Brave.” The memory verse provided a mission for the children to take with them, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 15:24).