Thursday, November 29, 2012

IncrediWorld - The Joyful Labor!

The team (from left to right) : Chee Keong, Pei Yien, Debra, Vency, Jasmine & Dicky. You guys are the greatest VBS teaching team ever!
Working through this IncrediWorld VBS is a lot like giving birth - a lot of painful labor in the preparation phase but once the "baby" is birthed - there is such tremendous joy! My wife and I are so blessed to be working with such an Incredible Team of enthusiastic and committed volunteers - though all of us are doing this for the first time - that sense of passion really overshadow the initial jitters! Interestingly, all the three WOW (World of Wonders) apologetics teaching sessions were led by couples - so, it is true - those who serve together stay strong together as a couple as well!
This is Silas a.k.a. "The Bird Man" - who due to work commitments - was not able to teach during the actual VBS days but he worked tirelessly behind the scene to put together the presentation package. Thanks to Jasmine for buying the many varieties of bird snacks for the Design Day session of IncrediWorld. The kids ended up wanting to "taste" the object lessons more than anything else!
PRAISE THE LORD! - Out of 70 children who attended the VBS, 10 made a first time decision to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! For those of us who are teaching, we experience the power of sharing the Gospel linking the First Adam all the way back to the Last Adam and when the children see the connection between sin, death, suffering and the Cross - we felt like we were on holy ground. We are truly amazed that the God's plan of salvation when presented right from Genesis carries such a strong historical significance that the children could see how it all fits together - the age of the earth, dinosaurs, Noah's flood, the birth, death , resurrection of Christ, etc.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.......
While waiting for their children, parents had an opportunity to purchase books and resources from Answers in Genesis, and we hope that these materials will be a good follow-up for parents to continue on with the needed teaching. Our stock was almost gone at the end of the day!

Finally, it was the handwritten notes from the children during our last teaching session that made such an indelible impression on our hearts. Seeing the impact that the Holy Spirit made upon their tender hearts just made all the sweat and toil so much sweeter! Thank you Lord for this opportunity to be a part of this joyful labor of serving You in Your harvest field. Here are some of the comments :
  • "I have learnt that we should wear Bible Glasses and don't think that dinosaurs are extinct millions of years ago".
  • "God created the world in 6 short days. God is God".
  • "I learned more about God's Word and true science and I enjoy the art and craft".
  • "I learned a lot about God's Word. Thanks a lot for the teaching. God's creation is GREAT!"
  • "I learned a lot about God".
  • "I learned about God's Creation happened 6,000 years ago and not millions of years".
  • "God designed the world full of wonderful things".
  • "I now know where man came from".
  • "I learn that birds use their beaks in different ways".
  • "Amazing!"
  • "I love IncrediWorld!"
  • "Dinosaurs and man are born on day 6".
  • "I learned that dinosaurs were vegetarians".
  • "I hate sin".
  • "I love God. Your Word is truth".
Here's one final testimony from one of the "Park Rangers" - one of the helpers from Metrotabernacle :

Hi Joseph, Debra,

Thanks again for running the IncrediWorld – it’s indeed been a great blessing to the children.  There is this boy, aged 7 (in Stego team), who’s my colleague’s son has accepted the Lord (they’re all Hindu) and even talked about Christ coming to the world to save all to his elder brother (18 years old) and has shared much of what he’d learnt (e.g. creation days) to his Mum and other family members – this I heard this morning from his mum (my colleague)!  He loved the fellowship and friendship and kept asking to come for Sunday (King’s kids) service – they finally relented and sent him for children’s service yesterday!  What an encouragement that a small boy is so convicted of the truth and is able to influence his family members.  I pray that one by one, his family member will come to Christ too!

All glory to our Incredible Creator and God, Jesus Christ! Amen and Amen.

IncrediWorld - The Amazing Kids!

This is the joy and crown of the VBS! All seventy of them! We are grateful to the wonderful team at Metrotabernacle led by Pastor Seok who managed the logistics of the VBS so seamlessly such that the Answers Academy team can focus on the apologetics teaching.

Watching the Incredi-Enthusiastic team from Metrotabernacle leading us in songs set the atmosphere right and got us all excited for the WOW teaching lessons later on. In fact, my daughter - Eunice is still humming and singing the tune even right now - a week after the VBS!
To be honest, I had to draw upon every ounce of available energy from my 44-year old body to keep up with the kids! Am so thankful for my wife who worked tirelessly to double-check the scripts, providing me with all the backup props and giving me helpful advice & suggestions as the day progresses. No wonder God referred to Eve as Adam's "help-meet". Amen!
Now, this is the roller-coaster cheer that once was started - got the kids craving for more!

This is how one of the WOW (World of Wonders) classroom looks like. Plenty of charts and posters to remind children on past lessons. And for this group of older children (10-12 years old), we showed more video clips and engaged them in small group dialog due to their maturity.

IncrediWorld - The Set Up @Metrotabernacle

This was the first sight that greeted us as we enter into the INCREDIWORLD AMAZEMENT PARK! From Nov 22-24, it was an amazing journey for us as we took steps to partner with the Children Church of Metrotabernacle to conduct the first-ever Answers-in-Genesis VBS here in Malaysia!
This Stegosaurus was kindly given by a kindergarten who did a dino-project - we recycled it to create an environment for the Dino Day during the VBS lessons. Children are naturally fascinated with dinosaurs and to show them that the Bible has lots to say about these creatures and how their fossils tie in with the Gospel message of sin and death was really an eye-opening moment for them!
The deco team at Metrotabernacle really went the extra mile and even put in a roller-coaster display to enhance the fun-fair atmosphere of the VBS.
We even had a Q&A box for children with questions to ask - I had such joy to provide answers to questions like - "How could all the animals fit on Noah's Ark?", "How did Job know about the dinosaurs if they died in the flood?", "How did the dinosaurs go extinct?", "Do ghosts exists?", "What about cave men?", etc. I was utterly surprised that the children (aged from 6-12) were all thinking actively about questions on origins - they have been waiting for a moment like this to ask them!

Game stalls, Craft Rooms and also Dino Info Cards plastered in open areas for easy viewing. There is much we can learn about the Creator from His wonderful creation!
Also, we had top-notched classrooms to conduct the WOW (World-of-Wonders) session. The unique approach of this VBS is that the children are divided into three age groups (6-7, 8-9, 10-12) where we can tailor the apologetics teaching relevant to their understanding. As you shall see in the later blog postings, these teaching sessions are key to opening up their hearts to the Gospel message.