PandaMania Takes over Wyalusing's Vacation Bible School
By Kelly Cole
PandaMania took over the Vacation Bible School (VBS) this past week, July 18 to 22, at the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church, where the children learned that God is Wild About Us. Approximately 30 children attended each day of VBS that was put together by the Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church and St. Mary’s of the Assumption.
This year’s program was designed to connect kids to God and help them receive the gospel message in a memorable way. The children learned new songs, watched videos, worked at different stations, made crafts and learned daily Bible points. These Bible points were: God Made You, God Listens to You, God Watches Over You, God Loves You, No Matter What and God Gives Good Gifts. Each of these points was accompanied by a character from PandaMania. Along with these points, children were told a new Bible story each day and a verse from Psalm 139.
Each morning, Reverend Dr. Barry Ballard would review the previous day’s lesson and lead the children through songs and the new activities for that day. Rev. Ballard mentioned how pleased he was at the children’s efforts to memorize the verses and actively participate in this year’s VBS. The children also were asked to bring in nonperishable items to donate to the Towanda Area Community Outreach (TACO) program. This is an area food bank that helps families who need extra support. Along with the food, children brought in a collection each day that would be given to the local program.
Along with the daily program, the children were introduced to local individuals who spend their time helping others through various programs and organizations. This allowed the children to see that the church has resources available to help many.
On Monday, July 18, the children were introduced to Mr. Blanchard who works with TACO. He explained how the pantry in Wysox worked and that the children could play a great part in providing healthy food to families who cannot afford to.
Bill Beebe joined the group on Tuesday to discuss the mission work that he takes part in globally. Reverend Ballard and Pastor Penney Rahm shared with the children how the Heifer International project’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty. Allyson Smith spoke about Hezekiah’s Hands on Thursday. This is a local program where volunteers make home repair for those who cannot afford to or are physically capable of doing so in Bradford County. They help improve living conditions and bring the church and residents together. David Howard and his family are back in the area for a brief stay and he shared his family’s experience living in Papua, New Guinea, on Friday, July 22, with the children. He works with the Wycliffe Bible Translators by translating the Bible to make it accessible to all people in a language they can understand. They also help with community development, literacy development and church partnerships.
The children ended the week with a program for their family showcasing the music and lessons they learned throughout the week and a delicious ice cream social.
Shannon Lord directed VBS with the help of several volunteers: Kristen Solowiej, Michelle Wilson, Kay Johnson, Kasey Devoir, Toni McCarty, Ken Mapes, Tracey LaFrance, Ally Devoir, Colleen Brown, Carol Hughes, Jake Minturn, Olivia Minturn, Edie Ermisch, Melissa Nowland, Debbie Minturn, Kyle Nowland and Kara Johnson. They all had a hand in keeping the week running smoothly and making it fun for the children.