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Countryside’s Vacation Bible School becomes safari adventure

The sanctuary and entrance at Countryside Community Church had an African decor for the Vacation Bible School called ROAR. – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Kelly Cardone, left, and Wendy Molitoris, both of Countryside Community Church, play safari explorers in the serengeti. – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Leo Lewis, left, 6, and Will Porter, 5, both of Clarks Summit, play with binoculars they made in arts and crafts class. – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Lauren Pilchesky, 6, of Clarks Summit, looks through binoculars she made. – – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Church member Wayne Beach plays the Egyptian pharaoh who condescendingly refuses to set the slaves free at first. – – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

Ken Molitoris, of Countryside Community Church, plays Moses while the children play slaves of Egypt. They reenact the 10 plagues, including the water turning into blood. – – Ben Freda | For Abington Journal

CLARKS SUMMIT — Children watched as church members Kelly Cardone and Wendy Molitoris, both dressed in safari clothing, became explorers adventuring the African serengeti. Cardone, who plays an explorer named Irving, teaches Molitoris about the scary animals that see the serengeti as their natural habitat. Behind them was the church sanctuary detailed with a safari Jeep and cutouts of a lioness and her cubs.

All this was set up for Vacation Bible School at Countryside Community Church which this year had a theme of “ROAR” and taught that life can somtimes be as scary as the serengeti.

“This may be a frightening place,” Cardone said about the place in Africa. “But when life is scary, God is good.”

Life can be scary anywhere,” said Molitoris. “But having the all-powerful God who created the universe, what do we have to fear?”

During kid/vid stories, the VBS students watched a video of children who reside in African villages shown by church member Alfredo Chavez. One day, the children witnessed the life of a young boy named Honest and learned that Honest, whose parents are both farmers, has to wake up early to take care of his farm animals before he goes to school. He also collects firewood to help his mother cook dinner. With his father, he hunts wild boars in the middle of the night. Sometimes it is scary for him but he remembers from the Bible the book of Psalms, Chapter 23, Verse 4, which reads, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. Because you are close behind me.”

In the cafeteria, kids made arts and crafts, including Styrofoam binoculars representing what safari hunters use to see wild animals from afar. They also made flags with red, orange, and yellow colors like an African sunset.

During story time in the sanctuary, church member Ken Molitoris had the students reenact the story in Exodus while he played Moses and the students played the slaves in Egypt. On Monday, the kids made bricks for the pharaoh. On Tuesday, children confronted the pharaoh shouting at him, “Let my people go!” Church member Wayne Beach facetiously played the condescending ruler who tauntingly turned down this request and used many creative ways of telling them “No!” The kids acted out some of the 10 plagues, ribbiting like frogs, buzzing like flies, and lying down, pretending to be dead livestock.

On Wednesday, the kids traveled and parted the Red Sea. After a break from story time on Thursday, they continued the story on Friday with placing stones on a cross to show they are thankful. Also on Friday, the kids learned, “When life is good, God is good.” Irving, played by Cardone, taught Wendy about red jungle skimmers, types of dragonflies. She taught her that, although these insects almost became endangered, scientists have collected data to fine out they are doing well enough now not to be endangered.

“It’s great news, especially if you’re a red jungle skimmer,” said Cardone.

The VBS had a monetary collection from the student who decided the funds will go to the NEPA Youth Center.




By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.