Every Summer the church I grew up going to hosts a Vacation Bible School they call Marketplace. 20 years ago they started building a village from Jesus' time, complete with little shops, a bakery, a well, costumes, and "families." The families are the kids that attend Marketplace, a group of 7 or 8 kids the same age with a "Mom" that guides them through a morning in the village. They get to make fish nets, bake bread, work with leather and pottery, and learn about how people lived then. They also get to visit with real life missionaries, play games, sing songs, and see Bible stories acted out in the village. It's an incredible experience!
When Marketplace started I was 13. I was a "big sister" in a family that year, helping the "Mom" with a group of little kids. In years later I was a "Mom" to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade kids, I helped in a shop or two, and I was part of the "Cast" that acted out Bible stories. I helped every year until I got married and moved a couple of towns away.
During those years my cousins would come from Texas and stay with us, and go to Marketplace. We'd have friends that would come too, and often spend the week at my house. My mom was so brave! We'd have 4 or 5 of us spending the week together, doing Marketplace in the morning, and spending our afternoons swimming and playing. For me, as an only child, it was a week of pure excitement, and I loved every minute of it.
It's hard to believe 20 years have gone by. Marketplace has grown tremendously, and this year had around 1200 people! Now it's my kids that attend Marketplace.
This year both girls spent the week at my mom's house. My sweet cousin Lane stayed with mom and the girls, and helped take care of them for the week. They had such a wonderful time doing exactly what I used to do, doing Marketplace every day, and spending their afternoons swimming and playing. Ellie served on the worship team helping lead the worship music at the beginning of every day.
Annie spent her last year in the preschool area, and is so excited that next year she gets to be outside the entire time! Austin will be old enough to go next year also, and I know he'll love it. It's such a special ministry, and I feel so blessed that my kids get to experience God in this special way.
Austin and I spent the week working on the potty training...which we're still working on. :) We did get to join the girls for swimming one afternoon, where the little mister finally worked up the courage to jump off a diving board!!!
I am so blessed by my mom and my cousin Lane. Even with my Grandpa in the hospital, mom still wanted the girls to come and spend the week with her, and Lane made it all possible by staying with the girls at mom's to help whenever mom couldn't. What a great family I have!
PS: All these pics are courtesy of Lane, my brilliant cousin/photographer! Thanks Laney! :)