From June 11-15, the Atlantic Church hosted its first Vacation Bible School in 40 years.

Our theme was Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus. During those five days we taught kids that Jesus rescues us when we’re lonely or powerless, when we worry, struggle or make mistakes. But we were the ones—the leaders and volunteers—who had really been learning that lesson.

God rescued us in many ways. Non-members, who weren’t familiar with our needs, happened to donate the exact materials we needed. When opening day arrived, we still didn’t have our T-shirts because the train carrying the shipment had derailed. A prayer request was texted to all the volunteers, and the shirts came just in time. A few weeks before VBS started, I officiated a funeral service and, after the burial, I happened to be riding with the funeral director. I told her about our VBS and invited her kids to come. She asked me if we were setting up a booth at the One Stop Summer Registration event (where elementary school kids come to sign up for sports, reading programs, and other summer activities). No one at our church had known about the event. Thanks to that discussion, we ended up getting a booth there, and that’s how we met most of the kids who came to VBS.

Feedback following VBS was overwhelmingly positive. Parents were thankful, and the kids had a great time. One boy missed his last T-ball game so he could attend. A little girl’s mom said they were looking for a friendly church to join and asked about our worship service times. “Several of the children cried when they left the last night because they didn’t want to see it end,” said Penny Lilly, VBS coordinator.

God taught us a lot of lessons along the way, one of which is the importance of personally inviting people to events and to church. “Every child that came had a personal invitation,” Penny said, “People come because of people.”

It takes a lot of hard work and faith to put something like this together, especially after 40 years of not doing it. But God used it to bless the 15 kids who came—10 of which were not from Adventist families—and He used it to bless the leaders and volunteers. My takeaway: Jesus Rescues.