Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Shipwrecked & blessed at VBS August 13, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:52 PM
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When we feel lonely, worry, struggle, do wrong and feel powerless, Jesus rescues. That was the focus of the Vacation Bible School program, Shipwrecked, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Faribault, last week.


ASK A CLASSROOM of two dozen kids to sit still in silence for 60 seconds on a summer evening and the feat seems impossible. But the students did just that, much to my surprise.

It proved a rare minute of stillness in 10 hours of bible stories, crafting, playing, snacking, singing and a short video time during last week’s Vacation Bible School at my church. I volunteered as a crew leader for five kids—four boys and one girl. And, as you might rightly guess, I had a few spirited and active boys. That they all remained still for a single minute impressed me.


A bible verse was reinforced during each evening of VBS as part of the Shipwrecked theme.


It took me about 30 seconds, though, to still my mind from worry that one of them would act out and disrupt our reflection on Psalm 46:10—Be still, and know that I am God. It’s an important bible verse to remember in today’s high tech and busy world. We all—kids and adults—need to find time for quiet. Put down the phone. Get off social media. Turn off the TV. Disengage from the video game. Just be.

For five evenings, I had the joy of just being with my kids. I call them “my kids” because, by the end of the week, I felt a closeness to them that comes from togetherness. We bonded as we talked, shared, laughed, sang and more. I now know more about them and some about their families. It’s amazing what kids will tell you.


One of my boys thanked me for leading our Team 4 Jesus crew with a message in a bottle on the last night of VBS. How sweet was that?


I shared my gummy treats at snack time (because I don’t like gummies), asked my kids to sign nine thank you cards (which they did without complaint), parceled out beads for a bracelet written in Morse code… In turn, they opened and closed a drawstring bag for me, held doors for me, slid a chair across the floor for me to sit on… They were lovingly compassionate toward their leader with the broken wrist. Anyone who claims youth today are self-centered don’t know my kids. They showed me such care and love.

The interesting thing about all of this is that I wasn’t even supposed to be with these kids. Initially, I was assigned to be the VBS photographer, a job I’ve done in the past. But then I broke my wrist and had subsequent surgery. There would be no running around with a camera for 10 exhausting hours photographing all aspects of VBS.

I was exactly where I needed to be last week—shipwrecked with this great group of first graders to fourth graders. To praise God with them, to learn about Jesus with them, and, yes, even to be still with them for 60 seconds blessed me.

FYI: Click here to see the VBS program, Shipwrecked, from Group Publishing. Love this publishing company’s VBS curriculum. Next year we’re doing the Roar! program.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “Shipwrecked & blessed at VBS”

  1. How sweet that little bottle is! What a blessing you were.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Oh how VBS memories flood (pun intended) back when I think of all the years I helped with that week at various churches. Love the theme of yours this year and I am sure the week was wonderful for both children and helpers. What a fun week even if your favorite job was not possible this time. Next year you will be back behind the camera. 🙂

    • You know, I really love working with the kids. We had a talented photographer this year. And if she’s willing to return in 2019, I’m good with that. I’m hoping Izzy will come and stay for the week and attend VBS. Then Grandma would volunteer with the preschoolers.

  3. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    Great to hear of your VBS contribution, and of the kiddies’ help, too.

  4. What a GREAT and FUN Experience! Sounds like you were just where you needed to be this year 🙂 Have a Blessed Day

  5. **BE STILL & Know I Am God**

    My favorite verse of all time.

    **praise God with them, to learn about Jesus with them, and, yes, even to be still with them for 60 seconds blessed me**

    ….as you blessed them, my dear…

    And Us! xx

  6. valeriebollinger Says:

    It sure sounds like a great week for the kiddos…I’m so glad you were able to help. You were a blessing to them I’m sure.

  7. Jackie Says:

    It’s always rewarding to spend time with kids isn’t it. Sounds like you had sweet group, who thought you were pretty great too! Bless your heart for taking time to “just be” with them.

  8. jlin553639 Says:

    great article, good happy ending story

  9. becky spitzack Says:

    Outstanding message you shared!

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    It sounds like you had a good time. Be still… we all need a little more of that

  11. Littlesundog Says:

    VBS was part of my growing up years. I volunteered to help for a few years after I was confirmed. It’s wonderful that this tradition lives on in many churches.

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