Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Passover Water Gauntlet

It’s VBS week at church. That means it is once again time for Arby to lead the outdoor activities. I realized this year that leading the outdoor games is the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at Vacation Bible School. The church cannot get anyone to do the outdoor games job for more than one year in a row. Well, they couldn't, until I volunteered to help at VBS last year. The job was given to me. I get to take the kiddies away from the popsicle stick crosses at the craft table and “burning bush” taco salads at the snack bar and lead them through games that will reinforce Bible stories, such as the story of the Passover.

“Hey, kids! Today we are learning that God killed all of the firstborn men and animals in Egypt, but He saved the Israelites who took a bunch of hyssop, dipped it into the blood of the sacrificial Passover lamb, and painted that blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe of their homes. So, do you see those buckets of water next to the spray bottles and sponge balls? Let’s go learn about trusting God.”

The kids stopped listening after “God killed all the firstborn…” Horror struck, they walked in absolute dread toward a game that can best be described as walking a water gauntlet. The idea was for the children to close their eyes and walk down a “gauntlet” while their fellow VBS students threw sopping wet sponge balls over their heads and sprayed them with water from a water bottle. If they listened to and followed the verbal directions from their crew leaders they passed quickly through the gauntlet and only got damp. If they didn’t follow directions, they exited the far end of the gauntlet looking like they’d just taken a shower. These kids were merciless on each other. Some of them had the misfortune of listening to directions shouted to them by teen-aged crew leaders who did not know the difference between “right” and “left.” Those kids looked like they’d fallen in a swimming pool. There was supposed to be a lesson in this game about learning to trust that supported the story of the Passover, but generally the games ended with a group of screaming kids trying to soak one another. Dead Egyptian children? They were forgotten as soon as the water started flying.

Hey, I didn’t plan this activity. It’s all prepackaged stuff.

I learned at last year’s VBS that I have been blessed with an intimidating disposition that causes most kids to stop short of soaking me with water during the various water games that I run. One of the teenagers ran up to me today with a bucket full of water, ready to throw it in my face, but was stopped short by a simple glance in his direction. I absolutely do not cultivate a mean disposition, but it is funny to watch the older kids as they obviously want to douse me with water but just don’t trust that they will receive a good-natured response. I prefer to keep them guessing. It’s warmer and dryer.

The little kids know the truth.

Today it was little Katie. She's five. Katie stood next to me at the mouth of the gauntlet as I started the kids on their journey, spray bottle in hand, silently ignoring her fellow crew members whom she was supposed to be spraying, preferring instead to slowly and steadily empty the contents of her spray bottle on the seat of my shorts. Because I was distracted by all of the kids who wanted their turn running the water gauntlet, I didn’t notice little Katie, who comes roughly up to the backs of my knees, standing quietly with her arms in the air, spraying my butt until my shorts were saturated. I reached back and felt all of the water. It was then that I heard the soft giggling coming from behind me and turned to discover Katie, merrily keeping herself occupied at my expense.

“Hey, little girl!” I playfully exclaimed. “Shoot your crew members, not Mr. Arby.”

She just giggled. And kept on spraying. Tomorrow we need a lesson on mercy.

And baby powder.

To stop the chafing.


CrossView said...

I love it! Adults are intimidated by Guy. Older teens, too. But boy, those little ones can see right through him! ROFL!

Don't forget the baby powder. I need to share that advice with Guy.

Go Katie!

Anonymous said...

perhaps swim trunks are in order?

The church we've been looking at has VBS this week, but in the evening so we can't go do to Taekwondo. But the really strange thing is that I haven't seen VBS advertised anywhere else, adn I mean anywhere. I've been looking all over and can't find it. Its very weird!

Kathleen said...

Sorry...I'm just laughing. I don't have anything useful to say. Just laughing.

Twisted said...

Way to go, Katie girl!
I'm going to try and find one of those teenagers and tell them to douse you with a bucketful from all the readers at Boarding in Bedlam. Yours truly, Twisted.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! I just read this...and Katie is my niece! And yes, she is something else, isn't she? Oh, I just love her! Thanks for the fun story!!! I giggle every time I think of it!