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FROM THE STATES: Georgia DR in Vermont; BCMD church’s first VBS a big one

Georgia Baptists continue to help in flooded Vermont

By Roger Alford/The Christian Index

BARRE, Vt. (BP) – Disaster relief volunteers from Georgia Baptist churches are continuing their work in in Vermont helping flood victims recover from what’s being described as that state’s worst natural disaster in nearly a century.

“The jobs are massive, lots of debris and flood damage,” said Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief Director Dwain Carter.

In addition to helping with cleanup, Carter said the volunteers also share the Gospel with people they meet. He said the volunteers led two people to faith in Christ on Sunday.

Parts of Vermont received up to two months’ worth of rain in a matter of days.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott had requested and received a major federal disaster declaration, which means the state qualifies for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Recovery, however, depends heavily on the work of Disaster Relief volunteers like those from Georgia who have years of experience of helping victims of natural and manmade calamities.

Georgia crews were deployed a week ago.

Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief teams routinely deploy to disasters across the country and beyond. In the past two years, they’ve responded numerous times in the aftermath of hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires. They also deployed to Poland to assist Ukrainian refugees fleeing their homeland after the Russian invasion.

Carter said the Georgia Baptists are bringing “help, hope and healing” and Vermont residents are seeing “the church in action.”

Baltimore church’s first VBS hosts 180 kids from around the U.S.

By Sharon Mager/BCMD

ARLINGTON, Va. (BP) – The first vacation Bible school hosted by Vietnamese Baltimore Baptist Church (VBBC) was a doozy when a 50-member team from the church hosted nearly 200 children whose parents attended the annual meeting of the Vietnamese Southern Baptist Union of North America June 29-July 2 at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

The conference draws Vietnamese churches throughout the country and leaders from as far as Vietnam. The VBBC VBS team began planning three months in advance for an event with a space theme.

They decked out four hotel rooms with hanging clouds, stars, planets and a spaceship. You’d have never known it was the team’s first attempt at such an event.

“Even when we were younger, we didn’t have our own VBS,” said VBBC worship leader and VBS director Michell Nguyen. “I love how God used us in our capacity and let our community step up and serve.”

Each of the four hotel rooms had a purpose – crafts, snacks, Bible story room and main gathering room. Each day team members changed the rooms around to help the stories and messages come to life.

In a Jetsons-worthy gold skirt, Nguyen exuded palpable energy as she led the celebration sessions singing loudly and rallying the kids. Church member John Tran, dressed in a full astronaut suit, partnered with Nguyen to cheer on the kids, who danced and sang with gusto.

Nguyen, said the preschoolers, whom she called “crown jewels,” loved the music and would come up front to sing when she led each day. “The last day I played the music without being in the front, but all of the pre-K kids went up without me and started dancing. I thought it was so adorable and I admired how much courage and confidence they had, and how much fun they were having,” she said.

Nguyen said she was also impressed with how well all of the children got along. “We had kids from Texas, Georgia, Washington, Florida, and California — all across America,” she said. And they melded together quickly.

When team members weren’t able to finish the week for various reasons, members from Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Bear, Del., lent a helping hand. And later this month, VBBC will help Good Shepherd with its own VBS.

“A lot of kids and parents were surprised at how grand and big we made the VBS and how much heart we put into it,” Nguyen said, but it was a labor of love. “A lot of us became weary and tired, but after experiencing the entire VBS we were encouraged and want to serve in that capacity again for our own community.”

The church has a small facility, but Nguyen said she knows God will provide opportunities.

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