A llama, 50 children and other animals came to vacation bible school (VBS) in White River, South Dakota.
White River United Methodist Church (UMC), a congregation of about 100 people, hosted vacation bible school (VBS) using Heifer International’s Animal Crackers.
Animal Crackers is a free curriculum, with free trading cards, pins and much more to go with it. White River is on the edge of the Rosebud Reservation, so many of the children in the community are of Native American heritage and dissent.
White River UMC has hosted an after school program for the last 3 years, through a grant from the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation. The afterschool program has created a feeling of home and "church" for many of the children throughout the community.
Children and their families, regardless of cultural background, are very comfortable coming to Wednesday Sunday School, as well as, VBS. This year there were over 50 children in attendance!
This year at VBS, each grade group, chicks (K-1), sheep (2-3), and cows (4-5), were challenged to see which group could raise the most funds towards buying a flock of chickens or fish or rabbits. Each night a different animal visited VBS to encourage giving. Even a Llama joined the festivities.
White River UMC, is located in one of the poorest areas of the state of South Dakota and the nation. The group surpassed their fundraising goals. The children were within $10 of the $160 llama, when a parent generously donated the $10.
“The Spirit is definitely moving when goals are surpassed so tremendously!” noted Rev. Linda Balldock, White UMC.