by Cori Hilsgen
Area children, ages 4 through sixth grade, celebrated Vacation Bible School Aug. 3-7 at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.
This year, 104 children from the St. Joseph area explored a Workshop of Wonders theme. The program focused on participants imagining, building, growing, working and walking with God.
VBS was coordinated between three area churches: RLC, St. Joseph Catholic Church and Gateway Community Church.
The coordinators of VBS were Rachel Kuebelbeck from RLC, Marian Bach from St. Joseph’s and Pastor Bruce Tessen from Gateway.
“Many past students have come back to be leaders,” Kuebelbeck said. “The children are learning to use ordinary things and make them extraordinary.”
“What another incredible week of community Vacation Bible School,” Tessen said. “A great group of volunteers from all three St. Joseph churches offered fun songs with actions, creative craft times, healthy snacks, active games and closing sessions to remind the children what they had learned each night. Each child also received a cool looking T-shirt with our theme – Workshop of Wonders (Imagine and Build with God).”
“What a joy it is to see and hear over 100 kids and 50 adults singing to their heart’s content,” Bach said. “We ‘raise the roof’ praising God as a community of believers. This year’s VBS reminds us of the wonderful workshop of wonders our God has created.”
VBS attendees participated in many fun, faith-based experiences. Activities included prayers, Bible stories, snacks, music, imagination station and more.
“I loved making robots at the imagination station and singing and dancing at VBS,” Lila Meyer, 5, said.
“This year’s curriculum included Bible stories that gave children an opportunity to meet people from the Bible who used what they had to do something amazing for God,” Tessen said. “The Bible stories were taught in such a way as to reinforce the biblical teachings through multiple learning styles. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching Bible lessons to the various ages of children. They made teaching a lot of fun and very rewarding.”
More than 53 volunteers worked together to coordinate a fun-filled week for VBS participants.
Volunteers Mark and Lisa Hilsgen were small-group leaders and directed children to the correct group stations. Lisa has volunteered for several years, but this was the first year Mark was able to help, due to past work-related conflicts.
“In my opinion, the VBS Bible school is awesome for any boys and girls ages 4 to sixth grade,” Mark said. “We all learn about music, crafts and, most of all, about God and different Bible stories. The kids have so much fun for the five nights they are involved. There is, without a doubt, something for everyone involved.”
Hilsgen’s twin daughters, Amber and Allie, 9, have been attending VBS for five years.
Eighth-grade student Kateri Fischer volunteered as a leader this year.
“VBS is a great opportunity for kids of any age to come and learn about God,” Fischer said. “Also, it’s a great opportunity for teenagers to come help kids understand what God did for us.”
This is the 31st year VBS has been coordinated between the churches. Tessen said it won’t be long and they’ll be “gearing up” for next year’s VBS. It is, he said, a week very well spent for the entire family.
Twins Amber (left) and Allie Hilsgen, 9, attended the Workshop of Wonders Vacation Bible School held at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.
Twins, Amber (left) and Allie Hilsgen stand with a Workshop of Wonders robot during Vacation Bible School, held Aug. 3-7 at the Resurrection Lutheran Church.
Workshop of Wonders Vacation Bible School participants and volunteers practice a new song during VBS week.