by Marta Beaubien
MOSES LAKE, Wash., September 3, 2014 - Shrieks and giggles erupt from the “Israelites” marching through the fabric waves of the Red Sea as water sprays on them from a hidden volunteer.
“God is with us,” Moses, played by Jeff Wallen, intones, “so ... trust God.” Every evening July 7–11, robed figures entered the "Wilderness Escape" Vacation Bible School at Moses Lake (Wash.) Church. In their assigned tribes, they filled the marketplace to paint camel bells, mix and bake barley cakes, create sandals, weave tapestries, shake cream into butter, and play with the animals.
On the game field they trained to fight the Amalekites, guided sheep away from wolf packs and found ways to get wet to keep the 100-degree heat at bay. During the daily celebration time, they sang rousing Hebrew songs and together remembered their "God sightings" for the day.
Children wrote down their thanks to God for family members, friends, beautiful sunsets (caused, unfortunately, by area fires), and even the goats, rabbits and chickens that came to VBS. As the week progressed, the trail of thankful footprints stretched farther and farther across the map of the desert, reaching toward the Promised Land.
Each night the tribes also visited Moses' tent. “I love the quail [marshmallow Peeps] ... and the manna [frosted cereal],” kids chorused as they left the second night after learning that God gives us what we need, so ... trust God.
The following day children had to hold water bottles over their heads to see how Moses felt during the battle with the Amalekites, when he had to hold his staff in the air to help the Israelite army persevere. God gives us strength, so ... trust God.
“The celebration of the Passover was my favorite night,” says Wallen. In a darkened room the children heard the story of the plagues of Egypt and painted red on their door posts. They prayed for their families and waited in silence for the rushing sound of wind as the angel of death passed over. “It was a very moving experience,” Wallen explains. God saves us, so ... trust God.
On the final night, Moses guided a reluctant volunteer through a series of mouse traps, explaining how sin is a trap and the commandments keep us safe. God guides us, so ... trust God.
And God gave the VBS team what they needed. During the week when illness prevented some helpers from coming, volunteers quickly stepped up to take their places. The Sabbath closing ceremony line up was threatened by a hospital emergency and a car accident, but God brought in the right people to lead the song service and participate in the plays so the program went off without a hitch. Like Moses, the church learned to trust God, and the team prays that this message will stay with all the kids and staff who attended.