Inter-American Division’s Children and Adolescents Ministries Director Edith Ruiz (center) leads a segment during the launch of this year’s new Vacation Bible Experience program workshop in Miami, Florida, United States. The online workshop was transmitted on Feb. 25, 2024.  [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

February 29, 2024 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division

The Inter-American Division unveiled its newest Vacation Bible Experience (VBE) program during an online workshop session this week. The one-hour event provided orientation to teachers, directors, vacation bible experience leaders and volunteers who take part in witnessing to the more than 300,000 children and adolescents across churches and communities every year in the territory.

VBE is an annual church initiative which seeks to reaffirm bible principles and values for children and adolescents in the church and its surrounding community.

This year’s VBE, themed “Wonderful Works”, will highlight the architectural works in the bible and in the world today and point to valuable lessons for youngsters and teens.

Edith Ruiz, children and adolescents ministries director of the Inter-American Division and creator of this year’s Vacation Bible Experience program  leads during the online workshop, Feb. 25, 2024. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

“We are going to embark on a journey as we explore some of the impressive works made and how they were used by God and the vital and eternal lessons we can draw from them,” said Edith Ruiz Espinoza, children and adolescent’ ministries for the IAD. “Our goal is to reach the thousands of dedicated leaders so they can grasp the concepts, lessons, ideas, and guide their teachers and staff that arduously work to touch the lives of so many children and adolescents with the love of God and His wondrous works.”

The structures to be studied in the VBE comprehensive program include Tower of Babel, Noah’s Arc, Solomon’s Temple, Joseph’s Storehouses, and the New Jerusalem, as well as Burj Khalifa, Titanic and Taj Mahal, among others. The annual program includes theme shirts, pencil packs, a special patch and pin, an instructor’s manual, and other resources, said Ruiz.

Leticia Hernández, children and adolescents ministries director of the Guatemala Union shows different themed snacks that could be offered during the Vacation Bible Experience program this year. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

The workshop is only a sample so that VBE leaders can have a clear idea of what can be done and expanded on this year’s theme, explained Ruiz.  Among the values in the VBE program includes trust, worship, salvation, discipline, and joy, she said.

The launch workshop showcased songs, stories, craft ideas, tools, recipes, animated segments, games, activity tips, and resources that will reaffirm God’s wonderful care and love for His children and people.

The online workshop, produced at the IAD Headquarters in Miami, Florida, United States, was attended by 31 children and adolescent ministries directors from several unions and conferences in the territory. The launch event provided an opportunity for leaders to see the VBE program firsthand and inspire creative ideas they can implement back home as they train local church children and adolescent ministries leaders and volunteers.

Union and conference leaders practice the motions to the new songs from this year’s new Vacation Bible School Experience program. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

Norma Villegas, children and adolescents ministries director in the Chiapas Mexican Union, brought each of the eight conference directors to plan the VBE workshops they will teach as they journey through each regional territories next month.

“This year’s VBE theme is beautiful and will for sure reaffirm children who attend the summer’s program, that they are the most wonderful work God created,” said Villegas. “There are so many children who have broken homes and are going through difficult experiences, and yet they are ready to learn and be blessed.”

Nine-year-old Eliu from Tapachula, Chiapas, was living with his grandmother. His mother abandoned him as a baby, his father was killed and after his grandmother died during the pandemic, his alcoholic grandfather took him in but died soon after. “At first his aunt who adopted Eliu didn’t want him to attend a VBE program in their community but after he attended he was so pleased and is now attending Sabbath school every week,” said Villegas.

Norma Villegas, children and adolescents ministries director of the Chiapas Mexican Union shows the different craft ideas that leaders can feature during the  new Vacation Bible Experience program this year. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Last year, more than 79,000 children took part in the annual initiative, which included more than 29,600 who are not Seventh-day Adventists, added Villegas.

“We are very excited because this year we are planning to reach more communities that have no Adventist presence and reach children through this VBE program and be able to organize a missionary club so that more and more children and their families can learn about Jesus and His love,” Villegas said.

Janet Torres, children and adolescents ministries director of the Puerto Rican Union demonstrates an learning activity during the online VBE launch on Feb. 25, 2024. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

VBE brings a lot of joy and hope to thousands of children throughout Inter-America, said Ruiz. It’s an annual initiative that leads hundreds of children and their parents to join the church.

“We want this workshop to remind our leaders and volunteers in this beautiful endeavor to use their talents, gifts and all their energy and strength for this special VBE program,” said Ruiz. “Remember that whatever you instill in each child, he or she will take home and share everything they have learned with their families, friends and neighbors.”

VBE is about brining children to Christ and disciple them for the Kingdom of Heaven, Ruiz said.

Children and adolescents ministries directors from several unions throughout the Inter-American Division pose for a group photo at the end of the online launch of this year’s new Vacation Bible Experience program initiative. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

To view a photo gallery of the new VBE program launch, click HERE

To watch this year’s VBE workshops in three languages:

For English, click HERE

For Spanish, click HERE

For French, click HERE

 

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