Cross Roads for Human Development (CRHD) Society India.
A Reflection on Vocational Bible School (VBS), April 2012

VBS is well known on the Indian sub-continent and is conducted during the school summer holidays in Christian schools and churches. VBS ministry meets the needs of children of all ages, from 5-21 years. Every year leaders prayerfully set up a Biblical Theme around which all the lessons and activities are developed in a book form. Usually the themes run through for at least 10-15 days with dedicated young men and women who are willing to be part of this programme teaching the children. In India the VBS ministry reaches out to thousands of children and many come to know the Lord personally. Many of the leaders are grateful for such opportunity to attend VBS when thousands not only commit their lives to Jesus but also hear God calling them to serve him at various levels with different responsibilities. Personally I am forever grateful to God for the privilege of being part of the VBS. This was where I learned about missionaries who went out to different countries to share the Gospel. As a result I committed my life to Jesus.

I would like to praise God that after many years of prayers and planning the Lord  enabled CRHD to organize VBS at the Kids Paradise School from the 9-15 of April. Congratulations to Ravi, Sundera, Abel, Snehalatha and the teaching staff for their commitment in planning VBS in the village of Turkandoni. Although the children had finished their final exams and were enjoying the summer break, the parents irrespective of caste and creed, encouraged their children to attend the VBS. As usual the village Methodist Pastor along with the congregation gave full support to the event.

Francis, the Youth and Children’s Worker at VBS had been invited along with his wife to lead the whole programme. He trained the school staff before starting the VBS and they had enough Christian resources based on this year’s theme “Be renewed”. The day began with a brief time of devotion for the staff and all volunteers. More than 110 children attended and were divided into groups according to their age. There was an assembly for everyone and the day consisted of various activities, such as drawing, crafts, singing and drama to explore the theme. The children were provided with food and drink in order to keep them energetic in the summer heat of 38c!

One of the most interesting events during this week was an ‘Inspection Day’of all classes when they were tested on what they had been learning. Ravi and Sundera acted as judges and asked questions on their daily memory scripture verse, story, action, theme song etc. There were games based on the theme which they all played together. Each class was given a special prize for what they had achieved. Not only the children and but also parents were delighted to be part of the evening programme when children were able to show what they had achieved.

Children were given badges, crowns and flags with the theme “Be renewed”. They learnt the theme songs and I am sure they will show their new talents to us on our next visit to the school. It was a most joyful event to see the whole crowd of children along with the staff and helpers marching from the school to the church carrying the big banner which said “Welcome to VBS in order to be Renewed”. On the final day a delicious meal was served to everyone in the school. This was a new experience for the whole school and village. The parents were thrilled to see the hidden talents of their children being brought to light during this week. Undoubtedly VBS brought great excitement. It also brought all of them together to renew their commitment to serve the village. I am sure the Lord spoke to the teaching staff who come from differing religious background as they taught the various lessons to children.

It is a great joy to see all CRHD friends, teachers and volunteers learning about Jesus Christ, reading the Bible every day and worshipping God. They have learnt about forgiveness and to share their resources in order to help others. Some expressed their desire to know more about God’s love in Jesus Christ as the living God. I really wanted to go to India to witness this historic event in the life of CRHD but unfortunately for various reasons this wasn’t possible. The whole VBS week I was feeling homesick and thanked God for technology. Abel and Ravi were able to communicate with me and sent me pictures of the daily activities. The VBS pictures give me great satisfaction and comfort to know that the Lord who started CRHD knows how to carry it on. More than anything it has fulfilled our long awaited dream of sharing Jesus with the children in particular and the village in general.

I am sure those children will remember this first VBS. It is worth all of the effort and I feel very happy to see what the Lord is able to do with the lives of these humble people in the village. So all that we do here in the UK and Zurich enables the dedicated service of our friends in India and I am sure we are happy to say “well done CHRD India” for God’s glory.

God bless you,
Joseph