This past weekend we had our first Holiday Club – Vacation Bible School, for those of you reading this in the States.
We handed out 850 flyers.
We had it advertised a couple of times on the largest radio station in the Eastern Cape.
We had an ad in two papers.
We had people invite people via Facebook.
We placed ads on billboards and website classifieds.
We did our best to let the Summerstrand, Humewood, South End communities in Port Elizabeth know we were having an exciting event called Treasure Hunt for ages 5-12 years old.
The feedback from people made us think we had undershot our goal of having 50 kids. In light of the positive feedback we received from people when we invited their kids, we planned for 100 kids on our first day.
We honestly didn’t know what to expect. Our first event and we could end up with 5, 50 or 150 kids.
What we did know, is that we did as good as we could in getting the word out about this event. The only thing we didn’t do, is go door to door. Since every home has a 2m (6ft-ish) wall and is gated or the apartment complex has a secured parking lot, door-to-door marketing was not an option.
We arrived Friday morning at 7:15am and unloaded 3 vehicles full of our equipment, set-up, and activity supplies. The building was unlocked promptly at 7:30am and we began clearing the space and setting up our equipment.
It looked great. Treasure Hunt came together and now we were ready to register kids!
8:30am – No kids yet. To make sure the location wasn’t looked over, our team stood in the street with their bright orange shirts.
8:45am – Ettienne, a friend of ours in PE pulls up with 5 kids in his bakkie (truck). Woohoo. It must be that everyone will come at 9a.
8:55am – Still 5 kids
9:00am – We should be starting, but our South African natives are telling me that they will just now start to come in. We delay the start.
9:10am – Only 5 kids.
9:30am – We begin our program with only 5 kids. And we gave those 5 kids the best experience as if they were 100 kids!
I was so proud of our team for loving these young ones and not getting down that we were at 10% attendance of what our goal was.
After the first day, the team talked and all agreed that Sat would be better, knowing a lot of parents have returned to work.
8:30am – Registration opens. No kids.
8:45am – Leaders are in the street again. No kids.
8:55am – Ettienne pulls up in his bakkie with 5 kids!
9:00am – Still 5 kids
9:30am – 5 kids and we gave those kids the same excellent treatment as the day before.
Why? Because Jesus loves them and we were there to let them know.
Did we want 50 kids? Yes
Were we hopeful there were 100? Of course.
Were we disappointed with 5? Maybe a little. But we know that we gave those 5 kids the best we could offer.
It was worth all the investment when the 5 kids were loading onto the bakkie and I asked them “who loves you?” They responded, “Jesus loves me.” Then I asked, “How do you know Jesus loves you?” And one of the younger ones answered, “He died for me.”
I then asked if they remembered the core verse and one of the boys answered, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your mind, and with all your soul.”
That was worth 850 flyers, a radio ad, a newpaper ad. and many hours of prep and work.
Ironically, the YouVersion app Bible verse of the day on Saturday was the perfect verse for our team. Cassie was reading it before the kids arrived:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
How do we respond to what appears to be an unsuccessful event?
We keep moving forward!
Those words are from a favorite movie in the Robinson home. Probably because it shares the same name, “Meet the Robinsons.”
When Lewis, the main character in this movie, has a project fail, he excitedly says, “Keep Moving Forward.”
So we will Keep Moving Forward.
The good news is we made a great branding effort, spreading 850 flyers over the area, having some radio time, and ink in the paper.
Most importantly, we had 5 kids hear the good news that Jesus loved them so much he gave his life for them because He sees them as His special treasure.
Now we invite people, like crazy, to our first monthly service on January 27.