We recently wrapped up our wheat harvest. Although our crew experienced a short harvest in comparison to previous years, we are still very thankful for the crop and for the safety of our workers.

Historically, our wheat harvest generally wraps up around the start of another season: Vacation Bible School (VBS).

Families have many choices to consider when sending their kids to a VBS in our area. Whether it’s in the morning, evening or over the weekend, there’s a VBS that works for every family’s schedule.

Some VBS programs are known for their well-organized activities, convenient transportation services, expertly designed T-shirts, deliciously prepared meals, fun incentives or live music from contemporary bands. 

In the small town where my children attend school, all of the churches join forces — regardless of denomination — and organize one big, week-long community VBS.  While the location changes annually, the collaborative spirit remains consistent year after year. The numbers of children in attendance are quite impressive, and it truly is a tradition for our small town.

Beyond the borders of our town, a group of small country churches — including my family’s church — have also faithfully pooled their resources to provide a week of VBS for any child, from any family, from any community. It’s officially known as Monitor Community Vacation Bible School, but I refer to it as our “Simple Little Country VBS.”

Our VBS averages 25 kids from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade in attendance every year. I’ve taught the oldest group of students ever since I moved to Kansas nearly 10 years ago.

We work on a limited budget. Snacks might consist of cheese and crackers, homemade trail mix or popsicles. Recreation includes games of Red Rover or freeze tag in the church’s yard. Crafts are simple creations that become cherished masterpieces using items like rocks and sticks that have been gathered from outside. Music consists of an experienced piano player and songs sung long before my husband attended as a child. We dig into the daily messages using finger puppets, or reenactments by the older students, or discussions. And regardless of age, the kids work hard on their memory verses throughout the week.

The week wraps up with an evening program where people from area country churches show up to support the kids and listen to them sing their songs and view the student-produced skits from our week of lessons.  Afterward, we all enjoy fellowship in the church basement while munching on homemade cookies everyone has provided.

It’s a beautiful testimony to the spirit of our community. And while there may not be many of us, we recognize the importance of continuing our little country VBS.

Given all of the options available to families within our county when it comes to VBS, I’m always quite surprised we have the consistent numbers that we do. I’d almost classify it as a miracle.

It shouldn’t surprise me though. There’s something powerful about the simplistic nature of our week. While our VBS is small, it is still mighty. There’s something that happens that brings kiddos and our small group of workers back year after year.

It’s simple and sweet, and it’s one of the many reasons why I love our simple, little country VBS.

While we’re finalizing our scale tickets and getting some much-needed rest from our wheat harvest, I can’t help but be thankful for the plentiful harvests that take place throughout our area during this time of the year.