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Essays on Faith: Here comes Vacation Bible School

It’s time for Vacation Bible School! When I was a kid, Vacation Bible School was as exciting as Christmastime and it lasted five whole days!

Believe it or not, during my childhood in the Stone Age, bible school was held during the day because mothers didn’t work back then. They brought their kids to church, then stayed to help teach or serve refreshments. It was serious business in the little coal mining town where I grew up.

They say certain fragrances can conjure up our memories, so let me name a few that are synonymous with bible school. ... Brand new jars of thick paste with attached paddles inside the lids. Breaking open a big metal fruit cake tin full of broken crayons. Drying plaster of paris. And bright red cherry Kool-Aid.

We kids could not wait to get to the Sunday school room that had been designated for crafts. When we stepped inside that door, our eyes would pop over the beautiful decorations we could make from scraps of material, bottle caps or popsicle sticks.

Did you know you can boil marbles, then dunk them in ice water and they crackle inside, transforming into brilliant gemstones? And every year we made handprints pressed into some type of damp gypsum, then painted them after they dried. How my mother cherished those handprints!

The last class of the day was in the sanctuary. Here we would sing Vacation Bible School songs at the top of our lungs! When we were finished and worn out, a godly little lady in a house dress would march up front and begin telling us stories from the Bible. She told us that God was our Heavenly Father who would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Now, this sounded pretty good to me because I didn’t have a father at my house. Then she told us how much Jesus loved us (John 3:16), and I knew right then and there that I wanted to love Him in return. Then we sang a song called, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”

Throughout the years, I’ve organized lots of Vacation Bible Schools. Some of them on shoestring budgets, unable to offer glamour, glitz or computerized programs. But that’s not really important because at the end of the day, when I get up to tell the kids how much Jesus loves them, they get it. They understand this simple story of love, and then I have the privilege of introducing them to Him. I’m always amazed that they are as excited as I was when I first met Him. But I shouldn’t be surprised because He’s still the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Theda Workman lives in Tornado.

Essays on Faith may be submitted to gazette@wvgazettemail.com.

Funerals for Saturday, August 24, 2019

Barron, Dennis - 11 a.m., Airborne Church, Martinsburg.
Baylor, Elizabeth - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.
Bonds Jr., Patrick - 1 p.m., King of Glory International Ministries, Charleston.
Burgess, Corey - 5 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Burns, Helen - 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc., Grantsville.
Caldwell, Gary - 6 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.
Casto, Carroll - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor.
Casto, Roger - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.
Duty, Fred - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.
Fisher, Bernard - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.
Gwinn, Lloyd - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Habjan, Nathan - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay. 
Hall, Daniel - Noon, Witcher Baptist Church.
Hinkle, Ethel - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Hoffman, Bruce - 2 p.m., Foglesong - Casto Funeral Home, Mason.  
Kinder, Siegel - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.
Kyler, Virgil - 11 a.m., Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Reedy.
Palmer, William - 1 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston. 
Raynes Sr., Steven - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.
Truman, James - 2 p.m., Newton Baptist Church, Newton.
Turner, Keith - Noon, Full Gospel Assembly,  Huntington. 
Webb, Antoinette - 11 a.m., SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Oak Hill.
Wilson, Greg - Noon, Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.
Withrow, James - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.