Last week seemed to rush by, after the first couple of days. It was quite a shock when Friday rolled around. Every morning 40 children started arriving at 9.30, went through 'passport control' and then into their little groups. My group were the 'Star Fruits', age 5-6. Most days we did some kind of craft related to the main theme for the day - such as this tree, which was used later in our drama about Zacchaeus:
Of course, the Bible tells us that Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree, but we used a bit of artistic license and created a banana tree instead.
At ten o'clock, when everyone had arrived, we went into the main hall where we heard a flight sequence taking us to Banana Island. There we had a sketch from the Banana Boys, Ripe and Rotten. These were two lads from the youth group, who were excellent:
We sang the Banana Song and other children's worship music, and we played silly games - a popular one (repeated on subsequent days, by request) was for each group to create a 'mummy' by wrapping one of their members in toilet paper:
Then we had a refreshment break, with time to chat in our small groups, and finish the craft activity from earlier.
When we returned to the hall, we heard sounds much like the TARDIS from Dr Who, and the 'time-shed' shook before a strangely dressed character emerged. Actually most of them were dressed in the same clothes... and each of them represented a Bible character who 'went bananas' for God. Noah arrived on the first day. Building a huge ship in the middle of a desert would certainly have seemed crazy to his neighbours, until the rain started.
On Tuesday our visitor was Gideon, who cut down his army from over 30,000 to about 300 - not the kind of military tactic that would go down well these days:
On Wednesday our visitor was Elijah (who poured water over the altar before praying for fire), on Thursday it was the unpopular tax collector, Zacchaeus, who - after meeting Jesus - gave away four times the money he had taken under false pretences. And on Friday, we had the lady who poured a large jar of expensive perfume over Jesus' feet. Each visitor was interviewed by Ripe and Rotten.
We sang a few more songs, did other activities, heard a short talk about the day's theme from 'The Navigator' (a local church leader), and then went back to our groups to talk about God, and to write 'postcards' to relatives.
The children LOVED it. The main leaders were wonderful - full of enthusiasm and energy, despite the heat. Thankfully it wasn't quite as hot as the previous week, and the humidity was much less, but it was still at least 30C in the shade, and the hall has no air conditioning.
Then on Sunday we had a celebration in the evening, outside the church hall, with the children and their families invited, and also people from the local English-speaking churches. It was fairly chaotic - people arrived late, some children didn't turn up, an electric guitar string broke, and Richard - who took his PA system - didn't have much clue what was going on or what the order was. But still, it went well and was a nice ending to an exhausting but satisfying week: