One of our greatest delights this past summer was helping out with the Vacation Bible School programs in Pignon and St. Raphael. Ericlee's grandma Arshaloos started holding Vacation Bible Schools decades ago when she lived in Haiti. Her programs were so popular the numbers often soared to a couple of thousand kids who would attend. The desire of the churches in Haiti is to continue this legacy created by grandma.
VBS in Haiti holds many similarities to VBS in the United States. The children sing, memorize scripture, hear Bible stories, play games and bond together in community. This past summer Pastor Emmaniau led the singing and scripture memory time for the VBS along with some of the other young leaders. The Haitian children love to sing. They don't have fancy overheads or worship bands to lead them but they have the joy of the Lord in their hearts when they belt out those songs in Kreyol. Sometimes they sing up to an 40 minutes as the children gather and the leaders prepare for the day.
Over the years many teams have traveled to Haiti to help with the VBS programs. Some friends, like Dana Johnson, go back year after year to show love to the children and teach the Bible. This past summer, Dana was part of the team that taught the "Drama Class." Each day the kids would act out part of the story of Joseph using costumes and props.
The Bible lesson or story time was taught by my mom, Maria Lazo, for the Pignon and St. Raphael VBS. Flannel board and illustrated characters helped bring this important story to life. The children loved to hear the adventures of Joseph and the many lessons he learned on his life journey.
Of course, the big difference between the U.S. and Haiti is the little resources available to put on the VBS program. The Craft time has to be simple because art supplies are expensive and difficult to get.
At the end of each day, we feed the children who attend Vacation Bible School. This is the biggest cost when putting together the week but it is perhaps the most important next to sharing the Gospel message. Many children who attend may only get one or two meals a day. Simple, yet nutritious meals, like rice and beans provide sustenance for these children. In this way, the church is able to fulfill a basic need as well as reaching out to the community.
**If you would like to join us in helping fund a Vacation Bible School program in Haiti, please give through Christian Friendship Ministries. You could help change the life of a child by sending them to Vacation Bible School. This could be a great project for an American church to partner with the churches in Haiti so kids in the United States can help support Vacation Bible School for kids in Haiti. We also are always looking for church groups who would like to take a short-term mission team to Haiti to help the Haitians lead VBS. Our programs are generally in July after the children get out of school. If your college group or church group would like to help out, please leave us a comment.