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Though the words 'school' and 'summer' do not typically go together, Vacation Bible School is a fun exception

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ron HemphillProverbs 22:6 [NIV] Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Summer time, our children can hardly wait for school to be over and start enjoying their summer vacation. I remember those days. Then after so many days or weeks, they begin to miss their friends and start looking for things to do. Sadly, sometimes they don't always find constructive activities — they find destructive activities.

My generation was no different, just other activities. We didn't have the electronics. We couldn't do something and then immediately post it to social media to go viral. About as close as we could come was a party line. Some of you will remember those days with a smile, and some will wonder WHAT?

Then one day, I was invited to a Vacation Bible School. My first thought was, "Vacation and school in the same sentence or thought? How can that be?"

Well, the bus arrived and I reluctantly went. I was in charge of my two brothers and sister, geez! Funny, they didn't want to go either. After that first day, I found I was kinda, sorta, maybe looking forward to the second day. As the week wore on and Friday came, I found myself sadly on the last day of Vacation Bible School.

Years later, pastoring a church here in Prineville the past 37 years, every year my wife, Sister Paula, plans Vacation Bible School. The church is crawling with children, like little ants, so full of energy. I look at them and see myself many years ago. And each day they get more and more involved, meeting new friends or re-connecting with existing friends.

Is this unique to our church? Certainly not. The churches in Prineville plan their own individual Vacation Bible School. Yes, some are the same week as others, and yes it is a lot of work. But, then again, if we don't teach our children, someone else will.

I hear so many complaints from adults about today's youth or children. Remember, that was you yesterday. I know some will say, "We weren't that bad," but we should probably ask the adults of that day.

We must reach our children today while we can. I am so proud of our church here in Prineville. This is my community, where I live. The imagination and ingenuity of our church and church leaders is amazing. Some go with purchased programs and some come up with their own or design it.

After years and years of pastoring here, today I will have an adult come up to me and say, "Hi Pastor Ron, I remember when we came to your church for Vacation Bible School and it changed my life." It is then I once again remember it is worth it and feel honored to serve.

Vacation Bible School –wow, so worth it!

Ron Hemphill is the pastor at New Life Bible Chapel. He can be reached at 541-447-6543.

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