Hope Lutheran Church: The Walter Project

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This summer, we were blessed by the many churches that participated in The Walter Project. There were many creative and hardworking children’s ministry programs that used our curriculum for their Vacation Bible School or Sunday school. Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, New York, stood out, as they had a three-week VBS program this summer with over 1,706 preschool through eighth-grade participants and dozens of hardworking volunteers. Sara Butler, the director of Vacation Bible School, shared more about her church’s experience with The Walter Project.

We are always dedicated to using a ministry for our summer VBS that matches our mission of "sharing the hope of Jesus with a world in need of hope." When I decided upon doing a water-themed curriculum in October of last year, I was trying to get resources and ideas together to tie into our program. I received an email from our assistant director of children’s ministry whose daughter had hear of The Walter Project and Blood:Water through a Jars of Clay concert at a local college! It fit perfectly with the curriculum we were planning to use.

Once we started our campaign page online, it was easy to coordinate with Blood:Water. I received the jerry cans via mail, and we used those as a visual at our Thursday night program, to which families come to hear the kids sing songs they have been learning all week. We showed "The Long Walk" video to the families, and our VBS music director, Sherri Kurtz, introduced the jerry can, talked about the weight of it, and shared how blessed we are to never have to worry about clean water. The families were all encouraged and ready to support Blood:Water through our children’s ministry!

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When VBS began, we decided to have the teachers talk about the specifics of The Walter Project in their individual classrooms. I sent home a note to the families after the first day explaining The Walter Project, how we were collecting donations, and what they could do to help. The kids were so excited to donate by using the interactive displays that our VBS building decorations coordinator created. Her vision with 3-D displays is just phenomenal! The classes would take turns dropping their coins through the funnel to the water basin in our foyer display or walking up the steps to drop coins into the waterfall. I definitely believe that the displays helped excite the kids who were donating their coins.  

While we were collecting for The Walter Project, we also made sure that our daily crafts were outreach-oriented. Many of the prepared crafts were items that the kids could give away to someone in need. The kids are so eager to help, and they want to be involved! Giving them these opportunities to shine for Jesus is the best part of being involved in our VBS program. Serving God by supporting others in need is why we are here. In Matthew 25:35,36 it says, "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."