By Carol Mowdy Bond
The first night of Vandament Avenue Baptist Church Vacation Bible School, 400 W. Vandament Ave., kicked off with a good-sized and enthusiastic group of children ages 2 through middle school age, plus a few parents. The evening began at 7 p.m. in the auditorium, and church teens volunteered as helpers.
Senior Pastor John Nelson said, “We have a big heart for children at our church. Our speaker is Pastor Van Heckle who pastors Tabernacle Baptist in Guymon. He has a big heart for kids. He and I have been doing this for about 30 years. He comes here, and I go to his church.”
Nelson said, “We normally have about 50 some odd kids attend. But due to the pandemic, it’s anybody’s guess. We passed out about 250 invitations door to door, and talked to families. And we placed the newspaper ad.”
As for dealing with COVID-19, Nelson said they’ve done as much as possible to keep everyone safe. They’ve spaced out the chairs, and have disinfectant bottles all over the church. Workers are being very careful, and those handling refreshments are wearing gloves and such. But Nelson said, “It’s impossible to truly separate little kids.”
“We’ll start off in the auditorium. We’ll have the Pledge of Allegiance, then the pledge to the Christian flag, and then the pledge to the Bible. After that we’ll have song time. Then we’ll have our penny contest. Each child gives a tithe in pennies. We pit the boys against the girls. The boys put their pennies in a bucket, and the girls put their pennies in another bucket. We place the buckets on a scale, and the team with the heaviest bucket is the winning team. The adult sponsor of the losing team gets a pie in the face at the end of the evening.”
Nelson said “Then Brother Heckle teaches the children a Bible verse, followed by a message. It’s a clear message about God’s love and of salvation through Christ. After that, we’ll have refreshments.”
The church tries to reach children, some of who have never been to church before, and tries to reach children with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nelson said, “Matthew 19:14 says, ‘but Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” We truly believe that.
VBS at the church continues Thursday and Friday nights, June 25 and 26, and starts at 7 p.m. each night.