Kuna Church SCUBAs into the Neighborhood

"I loved this year’s [VBS] theme because I love the ocean!” Marilyn Jones said after directing her second Vacation Bible School at Kuna (Idaho) Church in June.

The church benefited from the expertise of Pacific Press designer Michelle Petz, who illustrated the Super Cool Undersea Bible Adventure (SCUBA) theme by turning the church building into an undersea fantasy world. “The décor set the stage and will help kids remember years after the fact,” Jones said.

Sixty-three children (25 percent from the Kuna community) and 30 volunteers made a lively crowd. “It’s amazing to me that the shyest child would dive to the stage when we asked for volunteers to help sing the action songs,” Jones said. Ten of the helpers were junior volunteers ages 13–16.

The main Sing and Splash program combined active singing, sketches and storytelling. The kids especially loved the eccentric Scuba-Duba-Do, a hound dog played by Richard Robinson. A new undersea character introduced each night helped the children learn a Bible truth.

Planning six months ahead paid off in many ways, according to Jones. Behind-the-scenes volunteers were prepared for opening night, and the multi-station program moved well. Even the snacks came together well. “It’s a really easy VBS to do, “ food director Aileen Sox said. “The kids do it all!”

John Kurlinski, pastor, not only believes in VBS but also works hard at it. His Bible Adventure station presented what he called Bible Story 101 for unchurched kids. To teach the Elijah story he made an altar complete with sacrifice (a bag of peanut M&Ms), buckets of water poured over it and firefighter Brad Kurlinski blasting "smoke" (CO2) from heaven. The pastor’s biggest stunt involved a huge black plastic “fish belly,” inflated by fans, inside which the kids could hear the heartbeat of the fish that swallowed Jonah. “This was one of the better teaching devices, giving them a serious impression of doing things God’s way,” Kurlinski said.

Follow-up to the week of SCUBA fun involved invitations to non-members to attend a presentation on Sabbath morning. Along with pictures of the week, station leaders presented the main Bible truths again.

“It was obvious the Spirit was with us when you saw the crew leaders interacting with the kids,” Jones said. “Giving up a week of time these days is a huge commitment, and I really appreciated all the volunteers’ dedication to this ministry.”

October 01, 2003 / Idaho Conference