My car was loaded almost to the ceiling. I’m glad that car going the wrong way on the Turnpike that I told you about in my previous blog, didn’t hit me. It might have looked a little strange to see bow and arrows strewn over the highway, not to mention coconuts, cassowary feathers, grass skirts…
I was on my way to be missionary-for-the-week at a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Otego, NY. Sunday afternoon I set up Papua New Guinea artifacts all around the church, net bags at the end of each pew, baskets on the window sills, and a display table with all the items numbered. I hung up a P.N.G. flag, and spread a jigsaw puzzle of the world on one corner table. Nothing like the visiting missionary coming and redecorating the church.
Well, what do you tell kids about missions? It’s not like they can leave home and start a Bible translation project tomorrow. But exposing kids to the world is my goal. If we in the church don’t do it, who will? My world balloon is how I started. I was delighted to see Gavin at VBS. He’d been there three years ago so I knew he’d remember where in the world was the country of Papua New Guinea (PNG) was. So I threw a balloon map to Gavin and he showed the other kids where it was.
If you haven’t heard my famous snake story, you really should put that on a list of things you want to do before you die. Every missionary should have at least one scary snake story. It helps to have a rubber snake to throw out—aim for one of the girl’s lap. Part of the story is showing the different arrows from P.N.G.—which one is for killing birds, which one is for pigs and which one is for people. That’s as much of the story that I’m giving out.
Another favorite story from PNG, that I shared with the kids at VBS, is about villagers who were constantly fighting with each other. My big question for the children that evening was, “Is it only in P.N.G. that people want to get even, fight and hurt each other?” We talked through the “Friendship Fixer”. I’ll attach a copy here just in case you have some fixing to do.
I like riddles. I grew up on such things as, “What’s black and white and red all over?” Of course you know that’s the newspaper- because it’s read all over. Well here’s my newest one:
What do my grandson, Isaiah, and the palm cockatoo have in common?
It’s the only bird in the world known to carve out a drumstick then bash it against a sounding board (e.g. a dead eucalyptus tree). So now you know the answer to my riddle—they’re both drummers. The palm cockatoo even looks like the wild hairdo of a rock band drummer. As you can see from the photo my grandson is more proper.
The V.B.S. team at Otego did a marvelous job with organizing, music, decorations, snacks, teaching, sports and crafts that week. I was excited to have a small part of each evening. The astonishing thing was that group of 25 children gave more than $500.00 for Nabak hymnbooks and toward my round trip ticket to P.N.G. Bravo!
One of my ideas for writing another book is to put together all these ideas and many more into a book for how to teach missions to children.
I hope that you will take special note of the children in your lives and make sure you’re following the right drum beat.