Nebraska church helps host VBS for Utah church plant
By Myra Holmes
A team of eight adults from Henderson (Neb.) MB Church joined a team from The Greenhouse, Saratoga Springs, Utah, to host the church plant’s first-ever vacation Bible school (VBS). Greenhouse’s “Summer Bible Adventure” was a free, three-day event for children ages four through 12 held July 29-31 in a community park.
Organizers saw God at work in many ways during VBS.
The team prayed for 50 kids, says Nicole Quiring, part of the Greenhouse church plant team. Exactly 50 attended the first day, including five teen helpers.
The public setting meant that passersby noticed the event. One family joined in because they walked by, says Quiring. In addition, several families new to Greenhouse attended.
Christine Quiring, team leader from Henderson MB, says the kids who attended were enthusiastic, joining in to sing even before they knew the songs. The team used Group Publishing’s “Everest” curriculum—the same curriculum used at Henderson MB earlier in the summer. The three days focused on: God has the power to provide, God has the power to heal and God has the power to forgive and love us forever.
Christine also sensed the children were receptive to the truths presented, even though attendees represented a variety of backgrounds. Utah County, where The Greenhouse is located, is heavily influenced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and some who attended were from LDS or inactive LDS families.
Nicole says parents and families expressed interest as they picked kids up. “God orchestrated some amazing conversations with some of the parents throughout the three days,” she says.
Throughout the trip, one team member from Henderson served as a designated intercessor, praying for spiritual impact in this community. Luke Haidle, pastor of Henderson MB, says that prayer always precedes spiritual victory, and the team felt it was especially important for this “high stakes” outreach.
Nicole says the timing was right for an event like this. The Greenhouse has been in Saratoga Springs for two years, meeting in the Quiring home on Sunday nights for “Missional Community” and gathering on the first Sunday of each month for public worship and teaching.
“We have established deep trust in the past two years, and that is of utmost importance to us,” she says. “We have built relationships in the schools, businesses, community, neighborhood, etc., so those who didn’t even attend the VBS knew who we were and what we were doing in the neighborhood.”
In addition to helping with VBS, the Henderson team engaged in activities designed to help them better understand the Utah County culture, build relationships and catch the vision of The Greenhouse. They toured the LDS Temple Square, took a prayer hike and stayed with Greenhouse families.
Churches have longstanding partnership
This most recent team effort is an outgrowth of a longstanding partnership between Henderson MB and The Greenhouse. Church planters Jason and Nicole Quiring consider Henderson their home church, since Jason grew up there and the couple attended and served there before moving to Utah. So when they began to dream of planting a church in Utah County, Henderson MB was quick to support the vision.
“As our church planting plans took off, they were there with us every step of the way,” says Nicole. “We invited them to partner with us, and they quickly decided to see The Greenhouse as an extension of their church body.”
In addition, Fairview (Okla.) MB Church, New Hopedale Mennonite Church, Meno, Okla., and a third, non-Mennonite Brethren congregation are supporting partners for The Greenhouse. Mission USA and the Pacific District Conference (PDC) also partner in this church plant.
“Partnerships create the longevity we need in a culture such as this one,” says Nicole, adding that they would welcome other church partners.
Sending a team to invest in VBS is just one way Henderson MB’s support goes beyond financial. The church prays and provides leadership support—two Henderson members sit on the church plant’s project team. And the church sponsors what they call “vision trips,” in which Henderson members travel to Utah for several days to “do life” with the Greenhouse team and gain a better understanding of their ministry.
Henderson pastor Haidle says the partnership is most definitely two-way: “We need them as much as they need us.” He points out that the Nebraska church is 125 years old, and it’s helpful to “relearn that mission mentality.”
Henderson’s Christine Quiring agrees. She says the more she and others experience The Greenhouse’s “open homes, open hearts, open life” ministry, the more she has a desire to reach out in similar ways in her own community.
“You can’t help but live that here, too,” she says.
VBS partnership helps to fan the flame
Henderson MB commissioned the Utah team during the July 26 worship service. Team members were: Karla Block, Makayla Burnett, Bailey Friesen, McKenna Friesen, Valerie Friesen, Christine Quiring, Heidi Schmidt and Erland Theiszen.
Nicole points out that, in a county where fewer than 1 percent are evangelical Christians, the witness of a team willing to invest not only funds but also feet on the ground speaks volumes.
“We believe all were impacted that week: the team, the Greenhouse families, the kids who attended, the parents who brought their children and those in the park observing what was going on,” Nicole says.
One VBS leader from Greenhouse described the impact as fanning the Greenhouse “flicker” into a “bonfire.”
Nicole adds, “We are very thankful for our partnership with Henderson MB Church and look forward to the years ahead.”
Photo provided by The Greenhouse: Children were enthusiastic about the first VBS hosted by The Greenhouse and Henderson (Neb.) MB Church in a local park.
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