Nearly 2,000 children across the Commonwealth of Independent States Field attended 33 VBS events thanks to funds from Kids Reaching Kids, the Church of the Nazarene’s VBS program.
Each year, children who attend a VBS are invited to participate in an offering that provides funds for children in need around the world.
Five countries in CIS were among those who received a portion of these funds to help local churches host VBSs for children in their communities, including areas where there are no Nazarene churches yet.
“The Armenia District had a chance to minister to 550 children in eight different locations — Yerevan, Akhuryan, Maralik, Gyumri, Sevan, Ashtarak, Lanjik and Dzitenkov,” a CIS leader reported. “Three of the eight locations were new communities that God allowed us to enter and serve.”
Church leaders in Russia hosted four events in four different locations, one of which was in a town without a Nazarene church where they plan to start a new ministry in the near future.
The church in Kazatin, Ukraine, decided to host its VBS in a nearby village. As a result, they were able to begin a Bible study and an ongoing children’s ministry in the community.
Youth from a church in Central Asia traveled more than 100 miles to help hold a VBS in a Nazarene church in a creative access country.
“Children came every day and on time, although the camp started very early, and every day they brought their friends with them,” a local leader said.
A church in Kyiv, Ukraine, included special training for the children on self-esteem, appropriate boundaries, and how to say no.
“One girl commented that now she knows how to say ‘no’ to other children who offer her to smoke or drink beer,” a leader said. “She understands her value and is not affected by peer's statements.”
During a VBS in Vapnyarka, Ukraine, children learned several Bible stories through games and activities.
“Children enjoyed the Bible stories,” the leader said. “In four days, the children learned stories about Jonah and Whale, the Good Shepherd, and the Lost Drachma.”
On the final day of the camp, the children showed what they learned by competing for prizes through Bible quizzing.
“The camp had fun games, competitions, and entertainment,” one child said. “I also liked to learn Bible stories, and I found many new friends.”
The Armenia District VBS held a performance for participating children and invited their parents to watch. The children performed songs and recited verses they learned throughout the week.
“This year, the parents [were invited] to give their lives to Jesus,” the leader said. “[It was] really encouraging to see how the message touched their hearts. Today we have some of these parents coming to our meetings.”
Although the local government prevented two communities from holding VBSs, they held a one-day outreach and distributed school supplies to the children. Today, Nazarene churches have formed and are leading small groups in both communities.
“After having a camp, we became convinced that this is really one of the best ways to evangelize the younger generation,” a Ukraine leader said. “We were glad to serve the children and share the Word of God with them.”
Scott Rainey, director of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, expressed his gratitude for the children and churches who participate in the Kids Reaching Kids offering each year.
“These gifts are vital to SDMI’s ability to support missional outreach in global areas,” Rainey said.
His thanks are echoed by the leaders in children’s ministry across the CIS.