SNOHOMISH — Ellie Psaradelis stood in the middle of an ancient marketplace made up inside Clearview Foursquare Church.
The 7-year-old girl looked at the variety of activities under way Wednesday evening in tents during the vacation Bible school. She could glue plastic gems onto a small wooden box, make a globe night light out of a balloon and paper mache, or create a flute, among other crafts. It all looked like fun to her.
“You make cool crafts and learn about new stuff every day,” she said.
The vacation Bible school was held Monday through Friday at the church located at 17210 Highway 9. This year’s theme was “Babylon, Daniel’s Courage in Captivity.” The week included the marketplace tour of ancient Babylon, outdoor games, and stories about the Old Testament figure, Daniel, a Jewish captive in Babylon who continued to believe in God.
Children ages 5 to the sixth grade took part in the activities. About 40 children attended the school Wednesday evening.
“We loved the idea of setting up the whole city of Babylon so the kids could walk through,” said Tiffany Littlefield, children’s pastor. “The marketplace was actually something I loved so children aren’t dictated where they have to go they can go in and choose what they want to do.”
The church started holding their week-long vacation Bible school in the evening last year to allow more families to participate, Littlefield said.
“A lot of families that work have their children in daycare and having a two-hour vacation Bible school would be too difficult to drive their children back and forth to,” she said. “It’s been amazing how many people have volunteered.”
Songs, discussion and Bible points, such as, “When you’re afraid God is with you,” were part of each evening’s activities. Children were encouraged to use what they had learned each day to talk with volunteers, who posed as characters in Daniel’s time who did not share the same belief in God, said church member Donna Green. She volunteered at the only tent set in today’s time. Its focus was to collect donations to buy mosquito nets for children in Africa. The project is part of Operation Kid-to-Kid, a partnership that creates hands-on service projects for children in North America.
“They’re learning, they’re becoming connected with God and they’re loving it,” said Green, 72. “This becomes three dimensional for them instead of just print on the paper.”
Ellie, her sister, Alexa, 9, and their cousin, Ariana Christoffersen, 9, learned about how kids in Africa are at risk of catching malaria from mosquito bites. They organized a lemonade stand Wednesday afternoon and raised more than $13 for the Operation Kid-to-Kid project.
“We didn’t want any child dying,” Alexa said. “I have a younger brother and I can’t imagine him getting sick by mosquitoes.”
Learning to help others and making good memories is what the week was about, Littlefield said.
“They will not remember scripture right now but they’ll remember principles of it,” Littlefield said. “I don’t ever want a child to walk away from church and think, ‘That was so boring, I never want to go back,’ but to think of it as people were really nice and it was so fun that they’ll come back as adults.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; email@example.com.