This morning started off with a bit of unexpected news: rather than holding VBS at the church in Lowe Sound where we had held it last trip, we would be holding it at the community center. We knew next to nothing about the venue or how we would lay out activities there so a lot was up in the air. When we got there we learned of some challenges:
- The rooms were smaller than what we had had at the school
- The outdoor area consisted in large part of an unpaved parking lot
- The community center was nowhere near the residential area- kids could not walk there
We had challenges but were determined to overcome them and improvise.
We quickly set about another cleanup effort to clear the grounds around the community center. As with the beaches, while some was undoubtedly local trash, there is trash in many areas of the island that gets blown in by storms from other areas, and still debris in many areas left from hurricane Matthew.
After the cleanup we had to think about our other problem: kids couldn’t get there on foot. Eugene (owner of the Pineville Motel, tour guide, driver, and all around great guy) took his bus to town.
Eugene’s bus is not bad. After all, between the bus and a van we affectionately refer to as the Mystery Machine it carries us where we need to go. But to get anything like the numbers we were hoping for? It seemed unlikely. We would work with whatever children God chose to provide.
Have you ever seen one of those cartoons that take the concept of a clown car and exaggerate it until some impossible number of people had gotten out? That’s what Eugene’s bus looked like as students began to unload. We would have a good sized class. Then Eugene informed us that we should hang on: several kids were getting washed up and wanted him to come back for a second load.
Remember when I said we’d bring more sandwiches? This time we had decided to bring sandwiches, but that we would actually be eating elsewhere. And we brought an extra loaf of bread and peanut butter. And it still wasn’t enough. In the end we had so many kids we were doing half sandwiches.
After VBS we visited a conch shack on the water which had been completely decimated by Matthew and rebuilt. The foundation used conch shells in its construction as they were plentiful. Everyone had an amazing lunch, more instruction about conch fishing and preparation, and a chance to see and hear more about Lowe Sound.
Today our cool down time was in the form of time at the motel with access to AC. The heat here can be so overbearing that some form of cool down is needed to make the work possible. The teens put this time to good use with their own devotional and personal study time. The adults went to their own rooms. Many slept or rested in the cool, and later came out to socialize.
At dinner, people discussed the many blessings they had experienced on this trip. Even if I could convey word for word what was said, I somehow don’t feel it would convey the same feeling we had, sharing in the experience.