With a new school year here, churches in Charlotte have been wrapping up their summer programs, including that traditional time of fun and learning called Vacation Bible School.
This week, Living Faith Baptist Church in the Reedy Creek area in northeast Charlotte hosted about 40 children at its annual VBS doings.
The kids, grouped in teams with names like Rascally Raccoons and Brave Bears, listened to Bible stories, played games, made their own canteens in craft class and sang hymns designed for young voices.
“It strengthens our kids’ understanding of Jesus Christ and the Bible,” said Pastor Steve McClung, 43, who joined in the festivities by dressing up as a clueless camper. “The joy, the laughter, the education – all of it together glorifies God.”
The Observer sat down with VBS students at Living Faith Baptist to get a kid’s-eye-view of Jesus, prayer, heaven and the Bible.
The children, most of whom are home-schooled: Josiah Egge, 9; Cameron Keller, 13; Cooper McClung, 9; Alexa Wood, 8; Claire Miller, 9; Andréa Egge, 7; Anna Wood, 9; Izabel Kummer, 9; Armon Wright, 8; Grayson Wright, 6; and Samuel Weathers, 9.
Here’s some of what they said.
Q. If Jesus came to visit you in Charlotte, where would you take him?
A. Josiah: “We could climb trees.”
Cooper: “Probably to my games. I play football – fullback and defensive end.”
Izabel: “The Billy Graham Library, definitely.”
Armon: “I would take him to church so I could show him how people have been talking about him.”
Q. Where would you take him to eat?
A. Josiah: “We’d make home-made food for him. Cereal.”
Cooper: “Burgers, maybe? Probably a cook-out.”
Claire: “Panda’s Den. They serve a bunch of Chinese food.”
Q. What makes Jesus happy?
A. Josiah: “For people to be sharing and to love other people.”
Cameron: “Us serving and raising others to him.”
Claire: “If we worship him.”
Andrea: “If we obey him and do the right thing.”
Q. What do you pray for?
A. Josiah: “That our daddy will have a safe trip as he does his work (teaching people how to fly).”
Andrea: “That I wouldn’t fight with my siblings, and will obey.”
Anna: “We pray for, like, sick people. And if we might be scared or sad or mad.”
Q. Do you ever ask him for stuff for yourself?
A. Cooper: “Sometimes I say, ‘Please give my brother (Ezekial) a hug from me.’ He was 13 (when he died in February). But now he’s 14.”
Alexa: “That I’ll have a good birthday.”
Armon: “I pray that I have a great childhood and a great life.”
Q. If you could spend a vacation in heaven, what do you think you’d see?
A. Josiah: “A pure golden castle, with God’s throne – where he sits, and where Jesus sits beside him. And all of our grandparents who have died.”
Cooper: “Probably really sunny. There’s no night there. No sin.”
Andrea: “Clouds. Streams. Lots of trees.”
Q. What does Jesus do in heaven?
A. Cameron: “He’s probably the one that greets all the people.”
Cooper: “Sitting on a throne, being nice.”
Q. What do the people in heaven do all day?
A. Izabel: “They’d be doing God-related things, like worshiping and dancing.”
Q. What do they do just for fun up there?
A. Josiah: “Play. Eat candy houses.”
Cooper: “Run maybe?”
Andrea: “Play hide-and-go-seek.”
Q. What’s your favorite Bible story?
A. Anna: “Jonah and the whale, because it shows how when you run away from God he can just take you back”
Grayson: “Peter when he walks on water. When he just looks at Jesus, he completely walks on water. And then suddenly he looks down off Jesus and he falls in. And then Jesus gives him his hand, picks him up and takes him to the boat and the wave immediately stops.”
Q. You like Easter or Christmas better?
A. Cameron: “Christmas because that’s the day God actually shed his heavenly form to become (human).”
Armon: “I like both. On Easter, at my grandparents’ house, the golden egg has money in it and all the rest have candy. And Christmas I like because my whole family in North Carolina comes to my house and we have Christmas dinner and we open our presents.”
Claire: “Christmas, because it’s Jesus’ birthday.”
Q. What present would you buy Jesus for his birthday?
A. Anna: “I would buy him a beautiful vase, because, to me, vases show that you can be connected when you’re broken at heart. Like, certain vases are made from pieces of glass. They’re just broken and they can fix them into something else.”
Armon: “I would buy him a Bible to see how they write about him.”
Samuel: “I’d buy him my heart.”