A church in rural Manitoba has turned the church's playground into a Bible safari this summer for the kids.
Anola, Man. is located 24 kilometres east of Winnipeg. Joanell Wichers is a long-standing volunteer at Anola Fellowship Chapel and the director of their Vacation Bible School (VBS).
"Over the years we've had volunteers make huge sacrifices of time and energy because they value children's ministry so much. VBS has been taught here for more than 60 years," says Wichers.
In the summer of 2020, the church was unable to run its regular VBS program.
"Last year we ended up making take-home packages and delivered them to children that had attended previous years."
Wichers combined last year's VBS method with a twist for roughly 50 kids this summer.
"We knew we wanted to do something but we didn't know what would happen with restrictions. We took the VBS curriculum we had, adapted it and made a take-home package. Then we have the playground Bible safari which is a playground with self-guided lessons from the book of Proverbs."
The take-home package has a booklet that children can follow along and the church's playground is filled with fun, Bible-based activities.
"There's a large Jenga game, some soccer nets, a balance beam, memory challenge, painted rock hide-n-seek, and of course the five stations each with one lesson from Proverbs."
The idea of the playground safari came to Wichers during her brainstorming sessions, remembering that some churches had outdoor stations during Easter.
"After church, I've seen a little girl challenge her dad to a game of Jenga. I noticed a kindergarten boy that was helping his mom do the Bible memory verse challenge. The painted rocks have been really popular, so it seems to me the kids are having fun."
The activities will be available until the end of August.
"Kids of all ages can drop in, play and learn. I suggest you bring a water bottle and a snack or maybe invite a family to meet you there."