MARINE CORPS LOGISTIC BASE ALBANY, GA -- The Chapel was recently transformed into a jungle for the base's Vacation Bible School. Vines hung from the lights and ferns and other plants swayed in the gentle breeze that flowed through the chapel, while children danced and sang songs praising the Lord. Children's voices echoed through the high ceiling at the Base Chapel Monday night during the second night of the base's VBS.
More than 60 children, ages 3 to 12, attended the VBS that started Sunday and will end tonight. This year's theme is the Amazon Outfitters, which focused on the rainforest. According to Deserae Schultz, director of the base Vacation Bible School, the purpose of the theme was to get the children to learn about the many creatures God has created and to make them realize that God is everywhere. To accompany this theme the children's motto was "One god, One savior, One lord."
"God is everywhere," said Schultz. "He is in the Amazon, His in the desert and He is here. That is what they [children] need to realize."
During the Bible school children participate in many activities such as arts and crafts and other games to make learning about the Lord fun, said Schultz.
Joshua Dunson, a 7-year old VBS attendee, also thinks the arts and crafts are fun. Dunson a regular at the weekly Sunday Bible School said the VBS was a lot more fun than weekly Bible class, especially because he gets to sing "fun songs about God."
The most important part of the daily routine is when the children go to Bible Study Village and learn different stories, said Schultz. Each age group is taught the same topic everyday, but the lessons are tailored to the children's age group so they understand what is being taught. The teacher has the children create an art project to coincide with each lesson, so they get more involved.
"It is such a wonderful opportunity to expose so many children to the Lord," said Schultz.
Most children go to the Bible study held every Sunday, but the VBS is a whole different environment, said Schultz. The VBS is focused more on fun and creating an enjoyable learning environment.
Along with learning about God, the children are also taught to give to those who are less fortunate, said Schultz. During the five-day Bible school the children collected canned goods, non-perishable food items and money that will be donated to The Lord's Pantry, a charitable organization in Albany.
"I believe that our children need to learn to give," said Schultz. "They can't always give money, but when they see what they are giving, if it's food, clothing, or time, then they can understand what they are doing. So they know people cannot afford to buy that stuff for themselves. It helps them understand the big picture."
Samantha Green, an 11-year-old Radium Springs Middle School student, really liked the theme for the Bible school and thought "it was cool to see the church look like a jungle."
Although the children are enjoying themselves they are also learning about God in the process, said Schultz.
"I learned that God created everything and we should take care of it and not destroy it," said Kiona Anderson, a 12-year-old Radium Springs Middle School student.