A number of Vacation Bible School (VBS) leaders gathered at the Southern California Conference (SCC) office on a Sunday in March for a bilingual VBS training to preview the theme for the upcoming summer program, titled, “Jamii Kingdom: Where We Are All Part of God’s Family.”
Jamii Kingdom is just one of many VBS programs created by the Children’s Ministries Department of the North American Division for an Adventist audience. These programs are designed to offer church members a unique experience that differs from other churches and aligns with Adventist fundamental beliefs.
Gloria Huerta, Hispanic Region administrative assistant, took on the role of organizing VBS trainings at the SCC office two years ago, a task previously held by a former Children’s Ministries coordinator. During the training, attendees rotated through stations featuring a Bible story, games, crafts, snacks, and prayer, each focusing on a simple, overarching concept: Jesus loves me. Each station will show children how Jesus forgives their sins and how they are saved by His grace and love.
The bilingual training was met with positive feedback from participants, inspiring Huerta to use the same format in the future. “I saw a lot of smiling faces, laughter, and community,” she recalled. “After this training, I received invitations to hold next year’s training at three local churches. To me, it is a message that keeping this bilingual was good.”
Huerta encountered one attendee, a member of the Carson Spanish church, who said, “I am so happy to see that it is not just us [Hispanics] but that we are able to be here with our brothers and sisters from other regions in our conference.”
Another participant saw a potential “problem” due to the success of the training: Children will enjoy VBS so much that there will be more children than the budget allows. Huerta, however, was not discouraged and replied, “God will provide! Those are the kinds of problems God is known for solving!”
By uniting VBS leaders from different regions, cultures, and languages, SCC members were able to exhibit Jamii Kingdom’s central theme: We are all part of God’s family.