SLA Vacation Bible School in Peru Draws Hundreds of kids
After 2 days of traveling, they finally reached the “People of Peru Project” organization.
Subsequently, they were warmly welcomed by Paul Opp, the organization director. He then gave them a tour of the working grounds, and took them to the church where they would be having their Vacation Bible School program for the children in the village.
For the first night the students passed out invitations throughout the village, motivating the children to come to the program. It was amazing to watch the kids round up and follow the students all the way back to the church, excited for the program to start. Each of the students applied themself to their tasks throughout the week, making it their goal to bring the kids closer to God, let them enjoy themselves, and learn something new.
Each day SLA started the service with several interactive songs to get the kids comfortable and excited about the program. Senior Cory Keith, along with Freshman Pablo Herfano as his interpreter, became more comfortable with their welcome speech each night. Senior Victor Fernandez always followed with an opening prayer, and began relying less and less on his need for an interpreter as the week went on.
“I enjoyed song services” remarked SLA Senior Victor Fernandez. “It was a bit confusing to translate the songs we normally know in english to spanish, but it was very fun and the kids were very interactive.”
At first, the kids were quiet since they weren’t very familiar with the songs, but as the week went on, they warmed up and were very enthusiastic.
“I think the kids really liked song service”, Junior Lucero Castellanos stated. “I think they had fun with the hand movements, even though some of the songs we sung were in English.”
Song service was followed by an educational “nature nugget” led by Freshmen Jessica Batista and Isaac Valera. Exotic animals to Peru, such as the squirrel and beaver, were discussed.
“I liked it a lot” stated Jessica Batista. “ It was lots of fun. It was very educational for the kids as well as for me because I didn’t know some of the things I taught them about the animals. I was a little nervous when I first started because spanish isn’t my first language, but as the week went on we started warming up and I began to look forward to it and how excited the kids were.”
“At first it was kind of weird, but then I grew close to the kids and it became a routine for me and just doing this with them was pretty cool” exclaimed Isaac Valera.
Afterwards, Mrs. Murray engaged the kids with health information, along with the assistance of various students. Each day new topics were introduced, such as the importance of brushing teeth, drinking clean water, and eating fruits and vegetables.
Lastly, Mrs. Malin introduced a nightly crafts activity which would arouse their creativity skills.
“When I was asked to lead out in the VBS program, I figured it would be similar to past mission trip programs with numbers growing from about 25 to close to 100 by the end of the week” Mrs. Malin stated. “Our VBS at the little Union church surpassed my wildest dreams”
The kids seemed to love making paper cups, visors, porcupines with model magic, thumb print cartoon bookmarks, origami paper dogs and cats, and model magic insects.
The number of kids participating sometimes became a little overwhelming, but it was great when all of the students pitched in and helped handing out supplies and helping the children.
Thursday evening, when the VBS program was almost concluded, the kids were asked to stay for a little snack they would be given afterwards. Pastor Nino and a few of the staff were a little stressed with the prospect of feeding almost 300 children. SLA students and staff then all rounded up and prayed for God to bless the food, so every child present would be able to receive something.
That night God showed us the power of prayer. The few snacks that were left were enough to feed all of the children present, with some still left over.
“God is amazing!” Pastor Nino exclaimed that night in excitement.
The VBS programs held at the state-run orphanage for two nights during the week were also a great success and were very well received.
Many hugs were shared as the students left the children for the last time. Most students had become greatly attached to the kids, and their hearts spoke out with tears as they said goodbye. It seemed as they were leaving a piece of their very souls, knowing they would not see the kids for a very long time.
Vacation Bible School changed the lives of hundreds those ten days, including the members from SLA that ran it. Watching the kids grow closer to God as the week went on, and seeing their expressions filled with happiness is an experience they would never forget.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 19:14