By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 20, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 20, 2013) -- Students of all ages attended this year's Fort Rucker Vacation Bible School, but they were treated to more than just classrooms and Sunday school, they had the opportunity to experience firsthand what it was like to live in biblical times.
This year's VBS, which ran June 10-14 at the Spiritual Life Center, encompassed games, crafts, lessons and experiences that children could touch, taste and feel, and even featured a full-scale version of the Wilderness Tabernacle that put into perspective some of the most important elements of Bible history, said Jesse Spiers, Bible teacher for Pattern of Approach Ministries.
"The tabernacle takes the things that you and I might read in the Bible and brings them to life," said Spiers. "What we do with the children, since there is an old-testament basis and message with the tabernacle, is bring the symbolism of the old into the new-testament because it's very rich, it's very real and it's very biblical."
The tabernacle set up at the Spiritual Life Center was 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, and all artifacts, including the well-known sacrificial altar and Arc of the Covenant, were built to scale, except for the brazen laver, of which the specific dimensions are unknown, said Spiers.
Throughout the tour of the tabernacle, Spiers said he tried his best not to overcomplicate things for the children and taught them about the symbolism of each artifact.
Children seemed to enjoy the tours of the tabernacle and were excited to see the size of displays showcased inside, but the tabernacle wasn't the only thing they participated in that kept their interest.
There were different rooms that children went through to participate in different activities, such as brick building, woodworking, discus making, jewelry making and more, but each child had their favorite.
"One of my favorite parts was we got to play the sheep game in the tabernacle," said Michael Elliot, VBS student. "It was kind of like freeze tag with the golden shepherds chasing the sheep, and whoever tagged all the sheep was the winning team." He added that his absolute favorite part of VBS was making a lyre, a musical instrument that was used in biblical times.
Ulandria Hartman, friend of Elliot and fellow VBS student, said one of her favorite things of VBS was more about the lessons she learned while she was there.
"My favorite part was learning about the 10 Commandments," she said. "You should always honor your father and mother, and if you obey them, you will live a long life. When God sees that you obey (your parents), he will know that you believe in him."
Tai-Tanisha Tejada-Simmons, who was on hand to teach children different crafts, said that VBS is a good way for children to experience something different and learn without having to sit in a classroom.
"This teaches them about Christ and about God, and they get to make all these different crafts and experience different things," she said. "They get to see their friends, and it teaches them fellowship as they do these things together," adding that working with the children has been one of the highlights of participating in VBS.
"These children have just been great," she said. "They come in excited and they seem to really enjoy all of the crafts, and they're just having a good time going around to all the different rooms and activities."
The experiences that were had at VBS weren't for the children alone, but also for those who helped teach the children.
"It's been wonderful to work with all of these children -- it's been a blessing," said Spiers. "We've taught children's church for years and we know that if you bring something to show them that they can touch and see, it'll get them interested, and we're just glad that the people here at Fort Rucker brought us in and allowed us to share this with them."