This week I have the awesome privilege of hanging out with about 80 kids at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Bethlehem Lutheran is using the ELCA World Hunger curriculum Taking Root: Hunger Causes, Hunger Hopes for its Vacation Bible School this summer.

I have lots of great memories from attending and helping out with VBS at the church I grew up in. The days were fun and full of energy, songs, Bible stories, crafts, games, and above all learning about God. This week has been no different. What’s even more exciting to me about VBS this week, however, is that while we’re learning about God we’re also learning about hunger and poverty, and how God calls us to envision and work for a world without hunger.

Anyone who’s ever been to a Vacation Bible School knows it gets pretty loud. We shout “Praise God!” and “Amen!” all throughout the day. Another of our cheers goes like this: “God is TAKING ROOT in our lives! We’re GIVING ROOT in the world!”

Every morning during our large group opening I get to talk about our Giving Root stewardship response. Each day we learn about a different development project around the world supported by ELCA World Hunger. Giving Root introduces the kids at VBS to different activities that help combat hunger and poverty, shows how these things happen because people in the Lutheran Church care and help, and invites them to give an offering to ELCA World Hunger.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the week so far:

  • Helping the kids to step in paint and make “Hunger Footprints” on the sidewalk, illustrating how many people in the world are hungry.
  • Listening to a first grader’s definition of being humble: “Not always thinking about yourself, but thinking about other people and what they need.”
  • Watching skits put on by the fun characters “Mr. and Mrs. Seed.” The kids love their creative costumes that look a little bit different every day, showing how they sprout and grow as they learn more about hunger this week!
  • Picking vegetables in the church’s community garden to give to a food pantry.

I’m excited for the last two days of VBS here in St. Cloud, and for all the other churches that will have the chance to use Taking Root for VBS!