This is the amazing story that happened as a result of my volunteering to help out at VBS in a small church, which we were attending about 15 years ago. I have always enjoyed teaching children and doing crafts. Plus having young children at the time going to VBS would give my young children something different to do in the summer. Oh and did I mention it was free.
We were encouraged as church members to invite our neighbours and, of course, I did. I mean who wouldn’t want some free time from their kids. I even had a great deal going with one neighbour. I would take her two boys to VBS in the morning and she would take my two boys in the afternoon. I still think I had the better deal! I also apparently took a little girl from across the street along. I say apparently because I truly have no memory of taking her.
So VBS week came and went and life continued and we eventually moved to a new town and a new church. And I never saw the little girl or her mother again.
At the next church I was really involved in VBS – having a great time each spring and summer planning it. It was a busy but so satisfying time to see all of the hard work and creativeness pay off with a successful week.
Then we moved back to our previous town and church. Now, times had changed and this church did other outreach programs. Although I missed the craziness of racing out the door during summer vacation to go to church to sing, to tell stories, to have snack, and do other fun things with the kids I found other activities to do and I worked during the day at times.
One of the places I worked was in a group home from Christian Horizons. I enjoyed talking with the other staff about their churches and faith and what program they did.
On one of the last days I worked there a new staff walked in the door. Now this was about 10 years after I had taken a little neighbour girl to VBS. This new staff looked at me and said, “I know you!”
Okay, I thought, I have no idea who you are…
This lady – who by the way I still have no idea what her name is – told me that we used to live across the street from each other – ahhh – way back when the kids were small… now I remembered – sort of….This lady continued, “You know, you made a Christian out of me…” I will never forget those words. WOW! Seriously! How did that happen? I wondered
She continued, “You remember taking my daughter to VBS?”
Well she remembered and this little girl bugged her mom about going to church after VBS was done. Her mom let her go with her grandmother. But that wasn’t good enough, so this lady told me. The daughter wanted Mommy to come. So she said, “I went along a few times …. then the other children came along and eventually my husband came along. And eventually we all became Christians and now here I am!” As simple as that.
And all because, way back when, I took her daughter to VBS. Now don’t get me wrong--I know that God had many, many other people involved in their lives. I believe that God is the one who does the planning for VBS – we just carry out his plan to the best of our abilities. I believe that God is the one who nudges us to invite a child or befriend a neighbour. I believe that God is the one who gives us words to speak and the opportunities to do His work.
That encounter at work was the only time I saw my former neighbour lady because shortly after that we moved here.
I still don’t remember this woman’s name. I don’t remember taking her daughter to VBS but I do remember being totally blessed that God choose to let this conversation happen. It reminds me that we may never know how God will use us or a ministry, such as VBS, to touch or to change a life.