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The signs and literature at five area Lutheran churches—Ascension, Central Freeborn, Grace, Salem and Trinity—read: “Vacation Bible School June 20-23 at Edgewater Park in Albert Lea, 9 a.m. – 12 noon for pre-school and 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for grades 1-6.”

Kickoff was at 6 p.m., Sunday, June 19 at Trinity with pizza and root beer floats. Vacation Bible School attendees could bring anyone (family pets and practicing politicians not permitted).

Joan Anderson from Ascension, Genie Hanson from Central Freeborn, Rebecca Passer from Grace, Christie Ness from Salem, Annette Hansen and Greg Anderson from Trinity were the church adult representatives responsible for tying everything together for a successful Vacation Bible School. (Tie it all together they did, even with a red ribbon!)

This year, similar to the last few years, a team from Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp in Iowa taught grades 1-6 (51 older students) while Genie and Christie taught the pre-school (20 youngsters) with Lorrie Hensche, Bre Brown, Shelley Bush, Katelynn Nelson, Brian Solberg, Fawn Dietz, Csarang Dual and Logan Helpers. My job was “gopher”—go ‘fer this, go ‘fer that, go ‘fer pizza for the Sunday night kickoff, go ‘fer coffee for Genie, go ‘fer KFC to feed the team Monday night at Central church where they stayed.

The Okoboji team was Samantha Walter, Ryan McCullough, Hannah Valen, Anna Englin, Lexy Lansink, Kaitlyn Bown and Matt Tabke. Three of them were from Minnesnowta, and four were from the great state south of Minnesota, namely “Tenwa.” (In case you’re wondering, look at an Iowa license plate—10 is ten followed by wa-aha a light bulb just went by you!)

The great week ended with a potluck supper in the Edgewater Pavilion followed with singing by the Vacation Bible School attendees as many a proud parent or grandparent beamed while taking many, many pictures.

The Okoboji team performed a skit as they sang the song about Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. I think a Norwegian wrote the song, as the chorus was, “Pharaoh, pharaoh, oh baby, let my people go—uff-da, yah sure, you betcha.”

All seven of the Okoboji team members are college students majoring in something other than rural America. I took it upon myself to give them some rural living knowledge. They now know that KFC is a fast food restaurant that gets the product it sells from a chicken farm. They now know a male peacock screaming early in the morning (from the neighboring farm by Central church) is not a young donkey crying for his mommy.

P.S. To the many others that helped, furnished cookies, supplies, money, cleanup, drove a vehicle with the bumper sticker “VBS Transport” etc. It most certainly does take a village to teach the youth about God.

P.P.S. I am most certain that because of VBS (or reading this column) more than one adult felt “just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea, daily walking close to thee, let it be, dear Lord, let it be.”


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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