Michigan Meets Montana For Mission Trip VBS

This summer, a group of 75 people came from the Berrien Springs, Mich., Village Church to conduct a Vacation Bible School at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Mont. The VBS was organized by Rich and Margaret Marsh, who lived on the reservation before moving to Michigan. They are friends with Lakota Sioux natives Kris and Ed Simons who currently live at the reservation and hold a branch Sabbath School there, using the Native New Life DVDs by Monte Church.

When the VBS began, volunteers camped out on the high school football field in authentic Indian tepees provided by the tribe.

The theme was: "Kin Sni Otokahe Wakan Tanka—In the Beginning God." Bible stories, activity books and crafts all fit the creation theme.

The VBS volunteers incorporated the tribal summer feeding program with their health and nutrition classes for the local children. Children also heard a presentation by "Moses" telling the day's creation story.

Crafts reinforced the lessons. Half of the group painted scenes from the story on walking sticks. For instance, for the first two days of creation they painted a dark stripe with some light or colors scattered around. Pictures of sky and water came next. By the end of the week, the stick had become a picturesque reminder of God's creation of the world.

The other half made shields with hoops and yarn and pictures of created things. Daily attendance ranged from 75 to 150 children.

After VBS, the group participated in community activities like visiting homes and a detention center, passing out Steps to Christ books and praying with the people. Many helped paint a community church a few miles from town.

In the evenings, other programs were presented, ranging from a history and culture talk by the vice chairman of the Tribal Executive Board to a class on arrow making. Also, a prominent health director invited a Michigan physician to present an evening nutrition class to tribal health employees. It was so well-received that the group would like the CHIP program and the training to teach it, especially after learning there is a program being designed for Native Americans.

One of the moms who brought her family to participate says, "We have wanted to take our kids on an overseas mission trip but it was something we could certainly never afford to do. This experience has given us that opportunity."

October 01, 2008 / Montana Conference