‘Mars and Beyond’ Explodes; Supernova Mission Complete

Six boxes of books were given to Shelley Marvin, center, for use at Vine Maple Place. At Vacation Bible School, staff leaders Laura Arnold and Teeda Gengo assisted 55 children in collecting donated books for VMP.

Just like a mission to space, Vacation Bible School (VBS) requires a giant crew to plan and prepare for success. And while space and Mars sound a little out of reach for elementary school ages and younger, the children’s mission and its impact on community was like supernova, exploding with popularity.

At Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, the August VBS had 55 kids enrolled. Thirty-five adults and 10 upper-grade youth set up five stations in support of the VBS theme, “To Mars and Beyond.” Parts of the program included a station for crafts, another for science, and one for mission. Combined, they smashed into success that probably will impact families in the community as well as their own.


Artwork by children at Vacation Bible School display encouragement and joy. The pieces were delivered to Vine Maple Place for hanging in personal rooms and community spaces.

Laura Arnold, a commander at the VBS Mission Station, said, “The philosophy behind mission, in my opinion, is to get kids thinking beyond themselves – to give something, make something, or do something to benefit someone else.” She added, “It is sometimes difficult – even as an adult, to know how to use your resources to make a difference when the world’s problems seems so big (or you are unaware of them altogether).”

VBS started their mission, a week-long book drive, with thoughts of how that could benefit the Maple Valley community. Vine Maple Place was a nearby facility that housed single parents and their children. It was the first choice of VBS staff. “Books and art were both concrete things that the children could do, that would help families who live right down the street from where we were meeting; possibly even kids with whom they attend school,” said Arnold.  The idea of book donations was so enthusiastically received at VMP that the staff asked if they would be interested in artwork as well. The art would be created by children and suitable for hanging in kids’ rooms.  “It is my hope that our art projects bring a sense of encouragement and joy to the families.”

Shelley Marvin, Child and Youth Program Coordinator at VMP, was thrilled with all the books and the personal touch of painted hands to make art pieces. She expressed what a great resource they would be for her program that serves about 220 kids. Artwork galore and 622 donated books could easily be summarized as … “mission accomplished.”