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By Betsey Reznor
Mélanie and I looked over the items in
the car one more time. Food? Check.
Tent and ministry supplies? Check.
Toilet?!? Yes, we had a toilet in the car.
Well, not a real toilet, but a bucket turned
toilet. We were heading north to Rapids
Seven for a week of VBS in the bush with
missionaries Dave and Marsha West,
and that meant tent camping. Neither
of us had been camping before. I think
the closest I ever got was falling asleep
once on a trampoline. But we were
excited about the prospect of spending
a week with the Wests, helping out with
their VBS in the bush. We had been told
that, along with our other equipment, we
would need to take our own toilet. So,
into the car it went.
Dave and Marsha West are missionaries
serving the Lord in Malartic, Quebec.
They work mostly with the Cree and
Algonquin tribes. In the summer, many
of the First Nations people head to their
camps in the bush, so the Wests head to
the bush, too. They hold a morning VBS
for the kids and evening services for the
adults. Of course, if a few adults show up
for the morning VBS, they are welcomed.
Mélanie and I found out quickly that the
boys and girls always came back in the
evening for the “adult” service.
After setting up camp, we all met
together in one of the larger tents that
6 would serve as shelters for VBS classes
in case of rain. Pastor West went over the
daily schedule with us and with a group
that had come up from Pennsylvania.
They were camping with us that week,
too, and we were all there to help the
Wests with VBS. As the week passed, we
got to know each other better, and we
all became one team serving the Lord
together. The fellowship was great.
The daily schedule was simple. After
eating breakfast and spending time with
the Lord, we played with the children
as they started arriving for VBS. Each
person helped out in whatever way was
needed (handing out materials for crafts,
telling a missionary story, singing at the
top of one’s lungs, playing in the sand
with the little ones). Then came lunch
and maybe a shower (really a swim in
the lake) or a nap. Dinner was followed
by an evening service. Since most of the
kids came back for the evening service,
we all took turns sitting with them and
helping Mrs. West with the little ones.
After everyone went home, it was time
for marshmallows, fellowship around
the campfire, and bed.
One thing I loved about VBS in the
bush was how relaxed everything was.
Sometimes, a little one would break away
from his class and toddle over to where
his mom was listening to the evening
service. She would pick him up, put him
on her lap, and go on listening. No one
minded that the little one had wandered