Children Send God's Word Across the World

10/11/13

As soon as seventh-grader Dee walked into the church, he realized he’d forgotten something very important—the pile of coins he’d worked so hard to collect all week. 

 
Throughout the week at his Vacation Bible School (VBS) at United Baptist Church in Maine, Dee had learned how hard life is for children in Africa and the Caribbean. The more pictures he saw and stories he heard, the more real it became. But he was thrilled to learn he could do something to help, by collecting coins to buy Bibles and assemble Bible SmilePacks® for children who have no way of reading God’s word. 
 
Most children in the countries COTN serves don’t own a Bible
Most children in the countries COTN serves don’t own a single book, let alone a Bible, but they’re eager to read and learn more about the stories they hear at church.
 
It was pouring rain outside, but that didn’t stop Dee. He walked home, grabbed his coins, and made it back to church in a hurry, his enthusiasm growing with every step. “When [the kids] realized children around the world have a need and they could be a part of that, they got really excited,” says Scott Benner, assistant pastor at United Baptist Church. One girl was so inspired by the project that she carried an empty milk jug to her neighbors to collect as much change as she could. Over the course of the week, the children raised $440 for SmilePack supplies—more than they’ve ever raised for a VBS project. 
 
one girl took this milk jug around her neighborhood to collect change
Inspired by what she could do for other children, one girl took this milk jug around her neighborhood to collect change. (The writing at the top says "Help us fill it 2 here.")
 
What made the Bible SmilePacks project so appealing, explains VBS coordinator Warren Kidder, was that it is something children of all ages can participate in. “Everyone is capable of doing this,” says Warren. “I think this year it actually made the kids feel like they’re making a difference in other children’s lives around the world.”
 
Assembling SmilePacks was something everyone enjoyed doing
          Assembling SmilePacks was something everyone, from kindergarteners to grandparents, enjoyed doing.
 
The best part of the week came on the last night of VBS. Children, parents, and grandparents gathered for the big event. “You could just feel [the excitement] in the air,” says Warren. The group put together seventy-two SmilePacks containing Bibles, notebooks, pens, pencils, bookmarks they made during the week, and a group photo that they signed.
 
This happy photo will greet every child who receives a Bible SmilePack!
                                    This happy photo will greet every child who receives a Bible SmilePack!
 
“They’re really beginning to understand that part of being a Christian is to serve and love people in practical ways,” Scott says of the VBS kids. Everyone in the church benefited from the experience, as they grew closer as a community. “The best thing for me was seeing all the age groups enjoying this together,” says Warren. Now the church is looking forward to doing more projects like this in the future.
 
You can bring Bibles, school supplies, and smiles to children in need! Assemble SmilePacks today!