All over North America at this time of year, churches hold vacation Bible school for five days. It’s a time of stories, games, and fun. For many denominations, it’s a chance to tell neighbourhood children about the gospel.
Two VBSs stand out in my mind. When I attended the Lutheran church, it was just a fun summer activity. We heard stories, made crafts, and ate plenty of cookies. Though I was nominally a Christian, I didn’t relate the Bible stories to myself. They happened long ago in a far away land.
The fun came to an end in 1968. Instead of going to the basement with the other kids, the pastor’s assistant herded us older boys into a room with a long wooden table. As we sat at it, he plopped large black Bibles in front of us. Then he ordered us to look up First Kings something-or-other. Not only couldn’t I read the microscopic print but I had no clue how to even look up the scripture he referenced.
I tried to explain that to the assistant when he demanded to know why I wasn’t turning to First Kings something-or-other. Instead of letting me listen to the lesson, he ordered me to leave. He apparently thought that I was being stubborn.
I wept as I left and never returned to that church except for my sister Diane’s wedding. I heard that it now belongs to the Church of the Nazarene denomination.
The next year, Diane’s friend invited us to her mom’s place for VBS. Along with the usual activities, Mrs. Blacklock told us how we could have a personal relationship with Jesus and give our lives to him. I’d never heard that at the Anglican or Lutheran churches. After thinking about it for the five days of the VBS, I decided to heed the call and repented of my sins.
I wrote in more detail about both VBSs in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. It’s available from my Bruce Atchison’s books page, along with my debut paperback called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies.
I also have a new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It’s the story of how a lack of mentoring caused me to join a toxic church and how God led me to the freedom of the truth. Read more about this inspiring story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.