It was a busy summer for GCI Calamba as we grabbed the opportunity to hold vacation bible schools (VBS) in two barangays. We had to compress the five classes in each VBS to a weekend each, so we can hold more than one VBS in two months.
When member Alna Rebong of Villa de Calamba, Barangay La Mesa, volunteered to coordinate a VBS in her village, we knew that God is opening a door. Last year, VBS was held in our house in Canlubang and we were expecting a repeat this year. Holding VBS in Barangay Canlubang is a breeze to organize as the venue is free, facilities already in place, with good support from our household members as the property is ours. Kids from the neighborhood are ready to attend, with parents willing to entrust their kids' bible lessons to us as we know many of them personally. We also had a few years' experience in holding VBS starting with Sta Rosa church. We were able to hold the Canlubang VBS last April 28-30 and had an average attendance of 19.
Villa de Calamba was a challenge. Alna has never conducted a VBS before, there was no venue to start with, and we didnt know if there are kids that would be willing to attend. The first sign that God's favor was with us was when Alna reported that she was able to find a house where VBS can be conducted. It was a property owned by a member of Lakas Angkan Ministry, a local church that has since transferred to a larger facility outside the village. The house is only occasionally being used by members for small group meetings, and they are not charging anything for its use as long as it is for God's work. We are forever grateful to Lakas Angkan for letting us use their facility.
Seeing God's hand at work, we moved ahead with the preparations. Invitations were sent, and decors from the Canlubang VBS were recycled. School supplies and bibles were donated by Gloria Marie Sy, Grace Babol and Jing Avila. On May 26-28, kids from Villa de Calamba were treated to a healthy serving of God's Word through lessons, games, crafts and songs. On May 27, the kids enjoyed a Jollibee meal as it was our son Tim's birthday. Average attendance was 15.
The theme for this year's VBS was "Fearless" which was expounded in five lessons on godly courage. Teachers were Paul Nathaniel Makahiya, Grace Babol and Coleen Magararu. Providing vital assistance were Jing Avila, Lora Rapio, Jen and Liza Francisco, Edgar Abragan, Ben Babol, Bryan Babol, Pastor Ardel Magararu, Virgie Magararu, Lady Arvie Magararu, Pastor Pol Makahiya and wife Vivien. Thank you everyone for your help, and especially to Alna Rebong for heeding God's call to make disciples, who worked really hard to make the VBS in Villa de Calamba a success.
Graduation was held simultaneously for both classes on June 4 at Riverview Resort. Twenty-two kids were able to make it, many of them accompanied by their parents. Aside from their certificates, each took home a bag with school supplies and their very own bible. The kids enjoyed the swimming treat right after the graduation lunch. It was a happy occasion on this last day of summer as the school year would start the next day, June 5.
-- Reuel Avila