VBS Preparation

By: Ella Stettner

It's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting on a train bound for Karuizawa silently willing the dozing woman beside me to get off at the next station so I can have the window seat – window seats being one of my favorite things in the world.  

It's hard to process things right in the middle of them: it's always easier afterward for me.  And yet it comes out more honest and more memorably when I'm in it, with words and written down.  When I come back later, when everything's sorted out in my head and in my heart, I read what I wrote down and remember that person and that place and that time so much clearer even though it seemed all tangled up in my head at the time.
But that said, there are a few things that have risen to the surface this week I'll quickly (or not so quickly) share.
1.) My task leading up to VBS has been to prepare the lesson and story for each day and this week especially, I've wrestled with what to teach and how much to teach, which things are most important and critical to understanding the depth and breadth of Jesus' sacrifice.  In getting ready to teach the story of the Gospel to children who have never heard it before, it's all becoming new to me, too.  When I think of the power of a story all about grace and mercy and unconditional love in a culture that's all about perfection and achievement, I just see all over again how alive the Word is and how truth translates to every culture.
2.) There are a ton of people here.  Shocker.  It's Tokyo.  But in the press of the streets in Shibuya and in the crowded trains, it just amazes me all over again how big God is and how big His heart is that He loves so many.  That He knows the hearts of so many, that He has plans and a purpose for everyone, that He's working in their hearts and longing for them to know Him.  It blows my mind.

3.) I've decided that my favorite part of traveling anywhere is that I am able to see God bigger each time.  When I see His Creation and the things He's made and His glory and beauty in the earth, I get a little further into His heart.  I know Him a little deeper.  When I feel small in a big city, He seems big.  I want to know the things that break His heart, the things He loves, the things that make Him angry.  I want want to explore and see the wondrous things He's done.  I want to see His glory illustrated in the sunrises of a thousand mornings.  I want to see His power pounding on every sandy shore.  I want to see His beauty in every verdant mountain range, in every creature that whispers His name in wordless praise.  He's such a great God and His heart is so big.  I'm so grateful that I can know Him and see His heart in His creation. 
4.) I've never had so much ice cream in such a short amount of time and I'm not mad about it.