Traduce a Espanol!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Imagine...

...a not-quite-five year old little Quechua boy, hiding behind his mother's legs as she answers the knock at the door. On the other side stand two tall figures, members of the terrorist group "the shining path", looking for his father.  If his father goes with them, he would be forced to kill and forced to denounce God. If he doesn't, he'll be killed himself. By God's grace, he wasn't home.
...a five year old, walking with his family to visit friends, and the trip taking longer than they thought. When finally arriving they find their friends murdered.
...this family fleeing for their lives - protected by the church - being flown to safety to another part of Peru. Flown to a remote area where there was nothing but woods.
...un nino Quechua de casi de 5 anos, se esconde detras de su mamá mientras ella va a la puerta que alguien está tocando. En la puerta están parados dos figuras altas, miembros del grupo terrorista 'sendero luminoso', y preguntan por el padre del nino. Si su padre va con ellos, sera forzado a matar y negar a Dios. Y si no, le mataran a el. Por la gracia de Dios, el padre no estuvo en casa esa noche.
...un nino de 5 anios, camina con su familia a visitar a sus amigos, y el viaje se demora mas de la cuenta. Cuando llegan a la casa sus amigos encuentran que sus amigos fueron asesinados.
...esta famila huye por sus vidas- protegido por la iglesia- llevados a un lugar seguro pero remoto donde no hay nada excepto palos y monte.

....a new community, fittingly called Peace and Hope,  being built by hand - homes, a church, a one- room schoolhouse. No electricity, no running water.
...a now seven-year old boy, going to school for the first time - dirt floor, crude desks, very little supplies.
...the seven-year old boy loving to learn even at a young age - getting the top grades so that he won the prize- a book. A book that he would study the next year, but which he read over and over during the summer before the school year even started.
...being on the receiving end of missionaries - coming to your village to help, work and spread Gods love.
...una nueva comunidad, que apropiadamente es denominado Paz y Esperanza, se construye a mano - casas, iglesia  y una escuela de un solo salon para todos los grados.
...un nino de siete anios de edad, va a la escuela por primera vez - el piso de la escuelita es polvo, pupitres rusticos y no hay muchos utiles escolares.
...el nino de 7 anios a quien le encanta aprender, logra ocupar el primer puesto en el primer grado y recibe la enciclopedia Escuela Nueva. El libro que usara en el segundo grado pero que en las vacaciones el nino lo devora pagina a pagina.
...reciben misioneros - que vienen de muchos paises- que vienen a ayudar, trabajar y compartir el amor de Dios.

...this child and his four younger siblings - now the first in their family to finish elementary school.
...a middle school boy, timid, an outsider, being sent on his own to "the city" to continue his education.
...este nino, sus tres hermanas menores y su hermanito menor- terminan la escuela primaria.
...en la escuela secundaria es un muchacho timido, un nino peregrino con muchos complejos tratando de sobrevivir la vida de ciudad.

...the proud feelings his parents must have felt to watch all five of their children continue on to be the first to graduate high school.
...el orgullo que sus padres habran sentido al ver a todos sus hijos terminar la secundaria y ver a su hijo mayor terminar la secundaria.

...the sacrifices these parents and younger siblings made - sometimes having hardly any food to put on the table - to make sure their eldest son could attend the teaching college.
...the elation, hope and thankfulness of this young boy - now a man - when he secured his first job as a teacher in the Annie Soper Christian School.
...los sacrificios que estos padres y sus hermanos menores hicieron- a veces sin nada mas que comer que arroz con huevo frito - para asegurarse de que su hijo mayor y todos sus hijos vaya a la universidad.
...la elacion, esperanza y gratitud de este joven - ahora ya un hombre- cuando recibio su primer trabajo como profesor de historia en la escuela cristiana Annie Soper.

...the confusion this young man, who was entrenched with and so proud of his Peruvian culture, felt as he fell in love with an American...an outsider.
...la confusion de este joven, que era tan apasionado y orgulloso de sus raices y cultura peruana, sintio cuando se enamoro de una chica de Estados Unidos, una extranjera.


...being thrown into a culture you know nothing about - not the habits, language or laws.

...having the guts to not only learn the language, but learn it well enough to study in graduate school.
...this young, Quechua boy growing up and becoming ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian church.
...organizing and leading mission trips to your town, where you used to live and work.
...this refugee, fearing once for his life and for the lives of his family, becoming not only (along with his siblings), the first to graduate Elementary school and high school, but the first to graduate college, graduate school and now getting a doctorate in ministry.
...fue lanzado a una cultura diferente, que no conoces- las costumbres, el idioma y las leyes son diferentes.
...pero tener las agallas de no solo aprender el idioma pero aprender lo suficiente como para estudiar estudios de post-grado en el seminario.
...este joven Quechua crecio y fue ordenado como pastor en la Iglesia Presbiteriana de Estados Unidos.
...Organiza viajes misioneros a su tierra natal y a otros paises.
...Este refugiado, que alguna vez escapaba por su vida, no solo llego a graduarse de la universidad sino que llego a hacer su doctorado.

Your life, Noe, is a story of hope and an example of Gods great love for us - if we listen, trust and obey God's call for us, amazing things can happen. The last 13 years with you have inspired and touched me in so many ways. Thank you for being my husband, a servant of God and a wonderful father to our children. I couldn't be prouder.
Tu vida, Noe, es una historia de esperanza y ejemplo del amor de Dios para todos- si escuchamos, confiamos y obedecemos el llamado de Dios, cosas maravillosas pueden suceder. Los 13 anios que estamos casados me han inspirado y tocado profundamente. Gracias por se mu esposo, un siervo de Dios y un padre fantastico para nuestos ninos. Me siento muy orgulloso de ti.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Writing my own VBS - themes, ideas and suggestions


I have really enjoyed writing my own VBS's.  It's not as hard as you think - especially if you have helpers.  I planned it all on my own this year and it was a little harder.  Next year I will have some help :)  This year was my 9th year leading VBS and my 8th year writing it.  I have worked at four churches so I have repeated some of the themes, but now I am ready to look for new ones!  This is what I look for in a theme...

1. The most important thing is that it is Biblically based.  Cowboy themes, NYC, jungle themes, deep sea diving, etc. are cute and fun but not at all Biblical.  What I've found is that these themes really have to stretch to connect the stories to the theme and half the time they don't connect at all.  If they do connect, I guarantee you the kids don't get it - especially the younger ones.  VBS themes CAN be Biblical and still FUN!!

2.  Another thing I think of is decoration ideas.  In the small church I worked in, this wasn't a big deal, but at the church where I am now I have a lot more freedom and help to create some amazing sets.

3.  Obviously, one of the things I look for is FUN!!  Yes, there are lots of stories in the Bible that talk about people dying...but that's not exactly fun is it? lol  Pick a theme that you think the kids will find interesting, fun and exciting!

4.  Lastly, I look at the stories that relate to the theme.  Are there enough stories to go with the theme?  Are they child friendly and fun stories?  Are there stories from both Testaments?  One example of this is what I did this year.  About 5 years ago there was a VBS kit being sold called Let's Get Cooking or Shake it up (something like that).  The theme was cooking and I thought it was a really neat idea!  When I looked at the stories not only were they obscure (which is ok...although I wouldn't want all of them to be that way) they were not very interesting!  Since the theme had intrigued me, I made up my own cooking one this year with my own stories :)

So, here are some theme ideas, some stories to go along with them; and, if I've done the VBS, I may have a few resources (including songs, print outs, etc) you could buy on my teachers pay teachers page.

Here we go!!

1.  WATER!  
You don't have to go nuts and do scuba diving or tropical paradise, etc.  Just make the theme WATER!  Call it what you want :)  There are tons of fun stories with this theme.
Moses - in the basket and parting the red sea,
Jonah and the whale (not my fave but still has water),
Jesus walking on water and calming the sea,
Noah (also not my favorite, but well-known),
Jesus changing water into wine,
Baptism
Creation

2.  BOOKS/READING - 
this really goes with the Bible in general.  you can pick any story you want to promote reading.  But you could concentrate on the Books of the Bible and how it is made up.  Also, using the Scripture from Deuteronomy 9 about writing the Scripture above your doorposts, etc would be good.

3.  SUPERHEROS IN THE BIBLE
OT suggestions - Queen Esther, David, Daniel, Joseph
NT suggestions - Paul, Silas, Disciples, and of course, Jesus

4.  HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS - 

I've done this one 3 times - at three of the four churches where I worked :)  I am passionate about missions so it's special to me.  I've got a lot of resources for it so feel free to pop over to teachers pay teachers and you can look at what I have to offer.  Basically, I picked 4 continents for the kids to study, one for each day of VBS (the last day we did something different).  Each day, when they went to their rotations (art, games, etc) they traveled to different countries.  They learned how the kids in that country ate, sang, played, created, etc.  The decorations were so much fun :)  Because you have different connections at different churches, every year I did this it was very different.  One church has a couple from Thailand so they came in, talked to the kids and made Thai treats for them.  Another church had someone who had gone to a few countries in Europe and brought back some clothing from different countries - the kids got to try them on and take pictures :)  I could do this every year and make it different every time!  The Bible verses focused on making Disciples of all Nations, how every part of the body is important and how God made us all different but loves us just the same.  You can buy all my materials here for $45.

5.  COOKING - 
Like I said, this one we did this year.  It was tons of fun!  Instead of t-shirts each child got and decorated an apron :) The stories we used (but certainly aren't limited to) were:
Moses and Manna
Elijah fed by ravens and widow
Jesus feeding the 5000
The Last Supper
We also contemplated Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were at the palace and ate the healthy food instead of the unhealthy food - but decided on Elijah (a longer story and pretty interesting).  Plus, the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego story isn't really about that...
There are other parables as well that have food/seeds in them but I really liked the Feeding of the 5000 and Last Supper for the New Testament.  To purchase all the files I used and generated for this VBS you can go here.  It's $35.

6.  ANIMALS - 
this could be a barnyard type theme where you only use stories with farm animals or you could extend it to every animal and just call it God's Animal Kingdom :)
 - Noah's ark
 - Balaam's donkey
 - Jesus' birth (stable and wise men/camels)
 - Jonah and the whale
 - some of the plagues of Moses
 - Palm Sunday
 - Creation/Adam and Eve
 - Jesus' baptism (dove)
 - Disciples catching the fish
 - Elijah fed by ravens
 - David as a shepherd
 - Daniel and the Lions
 - Matthew 6 talking about the birds in the air
 I could go on but I'll stop there :)

7.  BOATS - 
instead of just a water theme you could go more specific and make it a Cruise ship theme!  lots of stories with boats in them!  Let the kids each build a raft :)
 - Noah's ark
 - Jesus calms the storm
 - Jesus walks on water
 - Fisher's of men
 - Moses in the basket (sort of a boat :)
 - Jonah
 - Jesus fills Peter's boat
 - Paul traveling in boat or "prison ship" (acts 27)
 - Jesus preaching from the boat

8.  LOVE - 
for a shorter VBS I have done this one.
 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart (greatest commandment)
 - Love your neighbor as yourself (Good Samaritan)
 - Love yourself - I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

9.  GO GREEN - 
take care of our earth; which embodies taking care of ourselves, our land and our animals
 - creation - you could just go with this the whole week
 - ezekiel 47
 - romans 8
 - many psalms - 19 is good

10.  Pick a Location
pick a popular/well known city in the Bible and teach stories from that city.  Dress from that time, decorate from that time period, etc.  You could also make it a DESERT theme and do stories from cities in the desert.

11.  CAMPING - 
this would be a neat theme as far as decorations.  I would pick stories like Moses wandering in the desert, Jesus traveling from town to town, Paul and Silas and Abraham.

12.  CONSTRUCTION - 
Building things!  I'm at a church where we do a lot of missions which include building/rebuilding houses.  What great decoration and craft ideas this would be!  You could do literal building stories (see below) or you could do "build your faith", "build your friendships", "build yourself", "build your family", "build your nation" or  "build your church"...or try and do both.
We are actually doing this one this year - I'll post my materials as soon as I'm done :) !

 - Parable of the wise and foolish builders
 - Solomon building the temple
 - Noah building the ark (not my favorite story for kids)
 - Exodus 25-30 Building of the Tabernacle offering
 - Jesus' father as a carpenter
 - the building of the first church in Acts (metaphorical)
 - Joash repairing the temple
 - you could go the opposite route and do the story of Jericho and how obedience is important...and how sometimes you have to tear things down before they can be built back up

13.  Jobs in the Bible - 
working in Biblical times - focus on some stories that talk about some of the important jobs people had back then
 - teacher
 - healer
 - preacher
 - and how Jesus was all 3!
 - you could also throw in carpenter/builder...which Jesus most likely was also because his father was one!
 - fisherman

14.  Focus on a person - 
I've sometimes felt that some of the people in the Bible get shortchanged because their stories are so long and the kids don't get to hear all of it.  We just pick out bits and pieces.  You could take the time to focus on the life of one person all week.  If you do multiple weeks of VBS this would be a really cool idea.  Here are some people in the Bible that have a story too long to learn in just one sitting!
 - Joseph (OT)
 - David
 - Moses
 - Jesus
 - Paul

15.  Kids in the Bible - 
little kids can do big things, too :)  Isn't that a Veggietales song? :)  Give the kids a boost of self-confidence by telling them stories of kids in the Bible that have done amazing things!
 - David
 - Joash
 - Samuel
 - Moses
 - Josiah
 - Jesus
 - little children brought to Jesus
 - Naaman's captive maid
 - Timothy

16.  Giving/Stewardship - 
Widow's Mite, Parable of the Talents, 1 Peter 4, 2 Corinthians 9, parable of the rich fool, Jesus

17.  Mission/Service - 
Paul, Disciples being commissioned, Romans 12 (we all have different gifts that we use to serve the Lord), Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus/Jesus washing the disciples' feet, Abraham, Moses, Philip, Daniel

18.  Prayer - 
You could talk about ACTS - adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.  Use examples from the Bible:
Adoration - Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel 2 would be great for this as well as many psalms
Confession - Psalm 32:5-7; psalm 51 David's confession
Thanksgiving - pick a psalm, any psalm :)  phillipians 4; Psalm 100
Supplication - paul praying for the people in Ephesus (eph 1); jonah
and of course, the Lord's prayer which pretty much encompasses all the above!

19.  STEAM Bible? 
would love to do this one...still working on it though...
 - God telling Abraham his descendents would be as numerous as the stars (astronomy)
 -

20.  Praise God with Song and music!  
If you've got a musical church, consider learning about stories that have people singing to God with thanksgiving and praise or the Psalms that talk about praising God with the lyre and trumpet!  Bring in different bands, let the kids make instruments and play different instruments.











Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Church has Left the Building!!


Or, others have called it "Meet the Need" or "Matthew 25 Ministries" or Gone Servin'" or "Service Worship" or Vacation in God's Creation!".  Whatever you call it, the idea is the same...

On Sunday  morning, you meet at the church for your worship service as normal.  After an abbreviated worship/Bible study (or after your normal worship service...you decide), those who are able leave the church to serve the community.  Those that are not able to go, can continue to worship, or there can be an alternative mission for them at the church.  As I have a passion for missions, I LOVE this idea of putting your faith into action.  It is something our church is considering for the summer months and so I asked other churches who have done it to give us some ideas.  They obliged!  So, here are some suggestions for the "Church has left the building" ministry!...If you try it, share with us what worked!


  • Way to promote - give everyone a t-shirt, button or sticker to wear that has your slogan.  That way everyone in the group is recognized.  If you're going to a park or retirement center, etc this would be a great way to keep up with your group as well. One church made t-shirts that said "Gone Servin'...the church has left the building" :) 
  • So what are some things you can do when you go "out into the world"?...
  • "Bag hunger" - give every group a plastic bag with a shopping list inside.  Go shopping for the things on your list then deliver them to wherever you are donating the food.  For those that need financial help, perhaps ask those that are staying behind if they would like to contribute $2-5 for those that are buying.  Include the $ in the bag for those that need assistance.
  • Helping your own - are there elderly in your congregation that need some small repair at their house?  perhaps painting a deck, mowing their lawn, weeding, moving furniture out to throw away or donate, rake leaves, etc.  Divide up your congregation into work teams and go help.                                                   
  • One thing we do at our church (Highland Presbyterian) is 10,000 meals - Stop Hunger Now.  It's a great intergenerational activity that, although it costs quite a bit to do, you can raise the money and they take care of all the organization.  This will be one of our projects this summer.
  • Retirement home - go and sing, do crafts, play games and worship with a nearby retirement home.
  • First responders - make goodie bags with homemade treats, bible verses, etc (go on pinterest and get ideas!) and deliver them to hospitals, fire stations, policemen, urgent care facilities, etc.  If you have multiple groups going, make cards ahead of time of places to go and give each group a card so that every place is covered and you don't have 5 groups go to the same place.
  • Go to the mall and hand out waters and a small treat to the employees.  Meet at the food court for lunch! 
  • neighboring schools!  During the summer when there are no students many times there are renovation projects going on.  Ask you county if any of the schools closest to you need help with simple projects like planting, mulching, painting, etc.  If there is enough space outside you could have a bag lunch picnic afterwards.
  • parks - talk to you county as well about cleaning your local park(s) - picking up trash, mulching/planting, etc.  This would also be a great place to have a picnic bag lunch afterwards!
  • Mission trip provisions - if your church is going on an upcoming mission trip or if you sponsor mission workers that need supplies, put lists in the bulletin with supplies that are needed - these could be bought or found at homes or neighbor's homes (maybe like a scavenger hunt?).  If money is needed you could find a way to give to those that need it to buy their supplies.  If you had a fundraiser beforehand you could even give out money to everyone to buy the supplies. Go out and buy/collect supplies and then come back and pack them up.
  • Check out this church that is currently doing this 4 times a year on the 5th Sunday.  Quote from their page, "Successful churches that provide Service Worship offer a wide variety of mission opportunities for all abilities. For example, some groups may write letters to people who are in care facilities or bake cookies on the church property for a shelter. Other groups may go to the home of a veteran who is deployed or disabled and do yard work or paint the walls at a church in need. The morning will start with a short service to bless the workers and send them on their way." http://www.faiththatworkstucson.org/service-worship
  • Another organization that is doing this is called "workship".  Although I like what they are doing, I feel compelled to state that the danger of what they are doing is losing the spirituality of church.  Church isn't just action and providing for physical needs - there are many non-profits that do this.  The church also needs to fulfill the spiritual needs of its members.  That includes teaching the Bible - not just a 7 minute snippit of a social justice sermon.  However, you can definitely get some ideas from this group as to how to run your "the church has left the building".  http://www.workship.org/services-1

  • Now here are some things to do back at the church...
  • There will be people who are not able to go out with your groups or simply don't want to.  Make sure you have things for them to do back at the church so they feel included.
  • One church had those that stayed back prepare sandwiches/lunch for the volunteers who were out doing missions.  When they return to the church they all eat together.
  • Do your own Meals on Wheels type program.  Get a list of your shut-ins and/or those in your church that are sick.  Have the people at the church prepare meals (could be freezer meals that could be cooked or prepared hot meals) that could then be taken to the members.
  • Card ministry - this is a neat idea.  Those at the church can write and address cards to those that are mourning, celebrating (birthday, anniversary, etc), that haven't been at church in a while, that are new - a welcome to the church card, etc.  Whatever they are going through, send a card :)
  • Church beautification - this could be inside or outside - whatever needs to be done.  
  • Make sandwiches for local homeless shelter.
  • make door decorations or table centerpieces for any upcoming events
  • make a treat for first responders
  • we have an afterschool program.  They could put together little welcome bags to our next group of kids that sign up.

  • Figure out how you want yours to run - maybe every other week?  Every week for a month?  Will everyone come back to gather at the church to discuss what they did and what it meant to them?  Some of the activities above would be perfect for a picnic afterwards - everyone could take their own bag lunch - or the people back at the church could prepare them and someone could take them to the volunteers if they are at a park, school, etc.
  • Maybe you could do the missions every other week and the weeks in between you could regroup and have someone speak about what they did - this would help both groups know what they others did.  Plus you could show pictures.  
  • I think the idea behind this is wonderful.  Take our faith and belief in Jesus Christ and the Church and put it into action with our neighbors and community!
If you have any other ideas please share!  I would love to hear them :)  God bless!