watching, reading, and writing stories

Great Adventure Week

on July 13, 2015

So this week is my church’s Great Adventure. Since I was in Jr High, this has been a part of my summer plans. So I thought I’d share a taste of what it can be like. This is a short story I wrote about my experiences at the Bible clubs one summer and the lessons I learned. I hope you enjoy!

July 2010 167

Backyard Bible Clubs

It was a hot July morning, the kind of morning that starts out hot and just continues to get worse. The only relief is the sweet air conditioning of a building. I stared at the barren landscape before me. This was my first club as a captain, and it didn’t look pretty. A field of dead grass lay before me, with a small playground in the distance. We were in a park, a park with very little shade. A few scraggly looking trees stood off to our left. Some people were hanging out in the shade there.

“Alright, you ready?” our driver asked as he hopped out of the car.

No one answered him. We had prayed before leaving the church that morning, we had prayed before leaving the car, but I still felt like praying some more, begging God to help me not mess up. I grabbed the bag of supplies from the trunk and headed for the shade.

Our enthusiastic driver bounded over to the play scape to hang out with the kids. He was one of those guys that had graduated and wasn’t on a team anymore, but had run the clubs in the past.

I watched him run and wished that I felt as excited as him, but all I felt was nerves. It seemed like all the pressure was on me; I was the captain after all. But I took a deep breath and checked with my teammates verifying that everyone knew what their roles were for the day.

Soon we had a little game of bounce the beach ball to each other going, and more kids started to arrive. We had to take water breaks between each game because of the heat, but it seemed like the kids were having fun.

I caught Sammy’s eye, “Can you keep the game going?”

She nodded.

I ran to the bag of supplies and pulled out my Bible and the curriculum. I glanced over my story for the hundredth time and prayed again for calm nerves.

Then the kids began to gather on an old blanket.

“Who’s ready for story time?” Jake said excitedly.

The kids yelled back at him, some said “Me!” and others said “No, more games!” But eventually all were corralled onto the blanket.

“Hey boys and girls!” I said as my many times of practice kicked in. “Welcome to Backyard Bible Clubs! My name’s Lydia, and this is Jake, he’s going to hold some pictures for me. And that’s Sammy on the blanket. Today I’m going to tell you a story from God’s Word, the Bible.” I held up the Bible. “See?”

The kids nodded along and listened fairly well as I guided them through the story of Mary.

As I came to the end of the story, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. This wasn’t so hard after all. Most of the kids actually liked the story and listened, not like the teens at camp who had made snarky comments. “Alright kids,” I finished, “Now it’s time for another game!”

* * * * *

The rest of the club went fairly smoothly, we had a few times of uncertainty, and Jake forgot a part during his gospel presentation, but for the most part, it went better than I had feared it would. As we packed up the car to head to the next club I waved at the kids, “Don’t forget to wear your cowboy outfits tomorrow for Tumbleweed Tuesday!”

The later clubs all seemed to get easier and easier. Our team began to flow, we all knew what came next, where to go, what to do, and we started to learn how to keep the kids’ attention better and better. By the evening, I felt like a pro, but I also felt exhausted. We had gotten up at seven in the morning and we didn’t get back to the church till at least nine o’clock.

And it wasn’t over, the next day we had to do it all again. Four clubs, four stories, four gospel presentations, tons of games, and crazy kids all day long. The only break we got was in the middle of the afternoon, in the heat of the day. We would come back to the church office, and relax, or practice the next day’s routine if we thought we weren’t ready. But often times, we would just take a nap, because after all those screaming kids, we needed some shut eye.
One of the best parts about the week was Wednesday. Not only did it mark the middle of the week, so we were given hope of rest and the week being completed, but it was also Water Day. So instead of suffering in the summer heat, we were able to cool off with buckets, splash balls, hoses, and water guns. Usually the club would conclude in an all-out war with every kid and leader trying to get someone else wet. It was great.

In all the commotion of the week; seeing prayers get answered for different teams, keeping up with what day was what, and just trying to remember sixty kids’ names, it was hard for me to remember that I had a birthday coming up. It was on a Friday this year, the day of Summerfest, our end of the week carnival. When my Mom pulled up to the elementary school parking lot, where our church met, we could see booths set up everywhere. It almost felt like a big party just for me. We had hotdogs, cake, and candy, played games with kids from our clubs and even had a live band playing music.

I signed up for the dunking booth so kids that knew me from clubs could have fun dunking me in the water. It was a little scary to sit on the edge of a plastic seat that you knew could go out from under you at any second. But it was also fun to get a good view of all the families walking around, and the water was refreshing when you did fall in.
All in all, that summer taught me some valuable lessons. I leaned not to be so quiet, and that even someone like me could be a leader. I also learned to pray more, as I saw God answer prayers for specific kids to be saved and for my own calmness during a club. I also learned to rely on my teammates and let them use their own gifts and talents. So that was my summer… my Great Adventure.


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