(Written by me and originally posted on our nonprofit’s blog)
Your Vacation Bible School:
– is probably run by your church or chapel and held at those facilities.
– the classrooms used are the same ones used for Sunday School and Life Groups.
– the tables & chairs are rearranged and everything decorated.
– the church kitchen is snack central.
– the sanctuary is the site for opening and closing ceremonies using the sound system.
– you pray for good weather so game time can be held outside in the grassy areas around your building.
This is how I remember VBS in the US, but it’s not like that in the Congo.
Vacation Bible School is actually a bit of a foreign concept in many parts of the world including east DR Congo. The churches do not put VBS together.
Bintu, our Operations Director, volunteered and worked many Vacation Bible Schools while attending international churches in Europe. She saw what a fantastic program this is for children, and returned to Congo determined to provide children there with this special summer time learning about God.
So it is not a church that does VBS, it is our very own Future Hope Africa folks who put this all together. Although we rent a small building from the church next door to use for our Tutoring Center, we do not have access to numerous classrooms. Our facility has only one room which can only be divided into two sections.
Facilities we often take for granted in the US and joyfully fill to capacity each summer aren’t available in Congo without going out into the community to find, negotiate the use of, and rent a place.
Previously we had to turn children away from VBS, because we just could not fit anymore in our building. This year our FHA team found a school willing to rent to us for a very small feel, because they’re willing to help support our summer program.
There are so few productive activities for the children of Congo when school is not in session. During my visit I saw no parks, no YMCA or recreation areas. In fact, the church and school next door to our Tutoring Center had no grass. Classrooms opened on barren ground and some of them had no doors. The long row benches could not easily be rearranged.
Was there a kitchen? Not at our building. Only one lone sink in the single restroom for almost 60 children.
Our team has organized this summer’s VBS to take place at the local school, rotating through classrooms and operating a little more like you and I see in our communities. It is a fabulous blessing! This blessing of space so that we can have three times as many children this year. With helpers and children, we are touching 200 lives. Your prayers and gifts make this expansion possible.
We only have 7 days left for our crowdfunding campaign and every gift is currently being matched.
Click here and check out our crowdfunding page:
Please think of us as you reflect on your VBS this summer and please share about Congo VBS with your church family and friends on Facebook, in email and other social media.
Thank you so very much for your support.
Only 5 days left for crowdfunding and a couple pledges have come in getting us closer to our goal. Thank you! –Kristin