Kuwait City Mar Thoma VBS 2013
Date: June 07 -June 21; 4.15 pm- 7.15 pm @ United Indian School
Theme: Fruit Bearers (Gal 5:22-23)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Director: Mr. Jose K Skariah (Asst. Sec. CSSM)
Convenor: Mrs. Suja Abu George
"Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mk 10:14
The VBS is one of the many means by which JESUS seeks children and youth into His Kingdom.
V B S initials denote:
Conducted during VACATION
BIBLE centered study
SCHOOL which maintains a regular schedule
VBS is a movement, which has in its existence of over 50 years, transformed children, youth and adults into God honoring men and women. Many of the Indian Christian Leaders of today are those whose lives were touched by God and who had committed their lives to the Lord during VBS.
VBS work has expanded tremendously in the recent years and more and more non Christian children are covered each year. Yet the percentage is just a drop in the ocean considering the Indian Population. The challenge of reaching India with the message of the gospel is great. Every ones prayer and active involvement in the mission will bring a change. May the Lord bless this years Kuwait City Vacation Bible School and all the VBS in India.
History of VBS
Rev. Lester John Hamilton and Mrs. Mary Hamilton
The Hamiltons (American Missionaries,) arrived in India in 1951 and were given only a brief period of language study before being plunged into the activities of the South India Bible Institute in Bangarapet, Kolar District, Karnataka.. But they both continued to learn Kannada throughout their ministry in India, and found themselves quite at home with the language. In 1952, Mrs. Mary Hamilton was requested to prepare materials for a model Vacation Bible School, and this was so well received that it has grown to become an annual event in many parts of India, and other countries in the world. Now millions of children are attending VBS classes in different countries in different languages. Even though the Hamiltons turned over the leadership of the VBS office into national hands, they continued to remain involved with it and gave their time and assistance until they left India in 1985.
Rev. and Mrs. Hamilton were teachers in the South India Biblical Seminary in Bangarapet, in Karnataka. They both were highly talented and have enriched the lives of many who came in contact with them. Their many and varied contributions to the ministries of South India Biblical Seminary and the Vacation Bible school movement will not be soon forgotten and we thank God for having brought them to serve in India.
In April, 1986, Rev. Hamilton retired and Mrs. Hamilton continued her work with World Gospel Mission for few more years. They now live a retired life in the US.
VBS in India
Some of the staff and students of the South India Bible Seminary (SIBS), Bangarapet introduced VBS to 75 children and 8 teachers at Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu. The VBS proved to be a success.
This was the nurturing period for the infant VBS Ministry. The number of VBS centers increased to 25, enrolling 4500 children. VBS was introduced at Mallappally, Kerala and also near Mysore City in Karnataka by SIBS student Directors. In 1956, a VBS Directors' course and a methodology course in VBS was introduced at SIBS.
The number of centers totaled 100 and the student enrollment was increased to 33,500. A follow up work were initiated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by CSSM Area Directors which included VBS Prayer Cells, Bible Reading Notes and mid-year rallies. The same year a new three year course for VBS written by Esther and Theodore Williams was published.
The VBS movement began to work more closely with CSSM which provided area directors, organized teams for many centers and successfully fulfilled the follow-up work. VBS materials in Marathi was first published in 1965.
This was the period of rapid growth for the VBS Ministry. Many new projects were undertaken and drastic changes were introduced during this period. The total number of Children attending the VBS classes exceeded 46,000 by 1970. A new building for VBS was dedicated on 18th Dec. 1971 at Bangalore. In 1972, VBS materials were printed in Gujarathi for the first time. The Jubilee Year was celebrated in 1977 and the theme for the year was 'Knowing Jesus'. Separate materials for non-Christian children titled 'Jesus loves you' were introduced in 1979. By 1980, the number of children attending the VBS in various part of the country rose to 1,42,000.
In 1982 alone over 1,50,000 children were reached through this great Ministry. The first All-India VBS Leaders' Workshop was held at Bangalore in March 1986 with 42 participants from 7 Indian states. Besides this Workshop, several regional and local training programs were conducted from this year onwards. VBS theme song cassettes in six languages were launched. Another introduction in 1986 was the 'Young Adult Course' in English and Tamil languages. Following this, penetration programs were conducted in Mizoram, North Assam, Darwad, Kottayam, Ambernath, Nagpur, Manipur and other places. The number of children increased many fold during the ensuing years and also other activities as well. This period was a productive period for the VBS
Kerala United Vacation Bible School
Mar Thoma Church and CSI in co-operation with Kerala CSSM started the Kerala United Vacation Bible School in 1981. It made tremendous progress during these years with the whole-hearted support of both the Churches and the Sunday School leaders. Over 80,000 students and 7,000 teachers participated in the Kerala VBS during 1995.
VBS in Kuwait
The first VBS in Kuwait was held in 1983 under the auspices of the Mar Thoma Sunday School. However, in 1984, Mar Thoma Sunday School and CSI Parish joined together and organized the Kuwait United Vacation Bible School. On an average, 750 students and 60 teachers participate actively in the VBS which is conducted on all Fridays from 3.30 to 6.30 p.m. for three months from June to August. The Directors for each year are selected from among the Sunday School Teachers of either Mar Thoma or CSI Parish. The teaching materials are usually brought from India; but the song cassettes are recorded locally by the VBS Choir. In 1990, the KUVBS had to be abruptly stopped due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. There was a break for two years as it took quite some time for the children to return to Kuwait after the liberation. By the grace of God Almighty, the KUVBS was started once again in full swing in 1993.
Right from the beginning our children accepted the Vacation Bible School with great enthusiasm and participated whole-heartedly in all its activities. Over the years KUVBS was instrumental in bringing the children closer to Jesus and had lead many to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
In 1993 KUVBS theme was "Think On These Things" based on Philippians4:8 and about 650 students attended.
In 1994 the theme was "Choose Ye This Day" based on Jushua 24:15 and about 700 students attended.
The theme for 1995 KUVBS was "Let us keep the feast" based on 1st Cor. 5:8
In 1996 the theme was "Press Toward the Goal" based on Philippians 3:14
From 1997 the Vacation Bible school was organized on a daily basis. Total Twelve days which includes ten days of Classes and two days of Programs were arranged for the students. A trained Leader comes from India to lead the KUVBS. Rev. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla, General Secretary of the Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam, Tiruvalla came to Kuwait as Leader for the KUVBS during 1997.