Jamaica Defence Force Family

VBS: Plunge to Service
Bringing JDF’s families to Church

“Be cool in the son as you Take the Plunge, and make a splash with Jesus!” This was the theme for the JDF’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) 2009, held at the Garrison Church of the Ascension, Up Park Camp. Over 160 enthusiastic and excited children gathered at the church to participate in two weeks of religious activities from 10 – 21 August.

Students putting on the finishing touches on their art work.

VBS is one avenue used by the Force to impact young minds and create an opportunity for children to do the right thing. It offers them a chance to practice God’s Word in a creative and fun way.

Capt (Rev’d ) Denston Smalling, Force Chaplain and Director of the VBS in his opening ceremony, ‘A child shall lead them’, reminded the participants of the reason for service, to spread the message of Christ and be courageous in Jesus.

Eighteen Instructors from different Units within the Force were given the honoured task of coaching the children ranging from 4 to18 years old.  Majority of the children are relatives and friends of members of the Force. They engaged daily in prayer, discussions in varying length, bible lessons, art and craft, games, sports, music and so on.

The five year olds also getting in the action.

In explaining the theme of the summer camp, Private Twain Jackman from the Military Police Company who has been a member of the program since 1996 stated that ‘Take the Plunge’ is a water park adventure concept. He said that it is a biblical experience that the participants loved and enjoyed tremendously. There were five lessons that were taught as the children immersed in the theme: plunge to obedience, plunge to worship, plunge to courage, plunge to faith and plunge to service.

A long standing member of Vacation Bible School planning committee, LCpl Rhoan Brown of HQ JDF, maintained that the objectives of the Vacation Bible School are to assist children in interacting with each other, understanding the role of the Church and the purpose of God in our lives.

“Its fun, I enjoy the games we play and my teacher gives us prizes”, said nine year old Toni- Ann Taylor as she excitedly went to her class.

The final week of activities saw the children going on a field Trip to Hope Gardens and an educational tour of the JDF Coast Guard and the Military Museum which was to their merriment and delight.  A sports day was also held on Wednesday 19 August 2009 at the JDF Mini Stadium.  

LCpl Rhoan Brown emphasized that Vacation Bible School is a great time to unite children who may not regularly attend church. He also noted that many children benefit from the friendship and fun that is often found during the program.

The enthusiasm of the participants once again helped make this year’s VBS a success, leaving behind the happy voices of the children as they filled the sanctuary.

The JDF has been hosting Vacation Bible School for the past 22 years. The programme is co-ordinated by the Chaplain’s Office.