MATTAWA - A team of high school and adult volunteers from Foster Tukwila Presbyterian Church has just completed its 20th Vacation Bible School for children in Mattawa.
Foster Tukwila Presbyterian Church is a medium-sized church with active ministries to children and youths. It supports other groups and ministries, including AA, domestic and international missions, crisis pregnancy centers, halfway houses and food banks.
Each year the group has been invited to the Mattawa area by local churches. This year the Mattawa Vacation Bible School (VBS) took place from July 30-August 3, at Hund Memorial Park.
The churches and the Mattawa-Desert Aire community at large host the youths and adults from Tukwila, inviting them to their homes or churches for meals or games or sleeping facilities.
Mattawa community members volunteer to support the VBS every weekday. They serve children by helping set up and take down the venues for the various activities, bringing cookies and treats for snacks, helping kids make crafts or learn music.
"The volunteers from Tukwila wish to thank the local churches, the City of Mattawa, and all the local volunteers for their help in putting on an entertaining, educational, and life-changing experience for the children and youths of Mattawa and Desert Aire," VBS Director Kayla Linscott said.
Mattawa volunteers also assist the Tukwila group with translation, working alongside the visiting teachers in classes to make sure that the local children have a safe and fun introduction to Jesus through a full-fledged non-denominational VBS.
This year's team from Tukwila consisted of 18 high school youths, five adult volunteers and a family of five.
Linscott is a 10-year veteran of the VBS, attending as a child when her parents were adult volunteers, then serving as a high school youth volunteer.
Finally, she felt called last year to step up as a leader, even though she is still only in her early 20s.
"A strong bond of friendship has developed between the church in Tukwila and the churches and community of Mattawa-Desert Aire," Linscott said.
Linscott noted high schoolers on the team make a serious commitment months before the VBS events. They agree to attend training to study lessons from the Bible.
"They learn how to share the Good News about God's love for the world, and how to help children understand what it means to accept Jesus as their Savior," Linscott said.
"Many of the youths develop such a love for Mattawa-Desert Aire after their first year that they sign up for the VBS team every summer of their high school years," Linscott added. "There are many cases over the years of relationships formed during the VBS week that continue even after the actual week of the program in Hund Park."
Volunteer Connor Forsyth of Tukwila plays guitar to help with the singing session.
Vacation Bible School director Kayla Linscott of Tukwila demonstrates her enthusiasm for Jesus to the children of Mattawa.
Volunteer Thalia Alvarez of Schawana, right, helps children at the arts and crafts table.
John Fertakis, a volunteer from Tukwila, passes out stars to children for use in a game.