Community Corner

Lebanon Bible Camp Offers Heavy Lesson

Students learning first-hand the physical rigors of obtaining water.

To experience what children in Third World countries go through just to obtain water, Lebanon Vacation Bible School students learned first-hand the physical rigors necessary.
To experience what children in Third World countries go through just to obtain water, Lebanon Vacation Bible School students learned first-hand the physical rigors necessary. (Image via Shutterstock)

By Lisa Massicotte, The Chronicle

Aug. 2, 2021

To experience what children in Third World countries go through just to obtain water, Lebanon Vacation Bible School students learned first-hand the physical rigors necessary.

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In fact, they had to carry water around the Lebanon Green every day during camp this summer.

"What I say to the kids is that they may not know how they're touching or connecting with someone else, but every time you reach out in kindness or welcoming or love and compassion we are showing that God is everywhere," said Lebanon Vacation Bible School Director Rev. Mary Horan of the First Congregational Church of Lebanon.

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As part of the vacation school, they walked the 1.8 miles of the historic Lebanon Green every day with gallon jugs of water.

It not only served as a representation of the several miles traveled by Third World women and children each day to get water (often still not safe to drink), it also served as the school's mission project.

That mission was to raise money for the World Vision Clean Water Project.

"This has probably been my favorite year because with how much money we've raised just from this week, it's just showing me that our town of Lebanon and everybody in it is kind and they all want to support a good cause," said Maeve LaFleur, 11, who has been going to the vacation bible school for the past several years.

The Lebanon Vacation Bible School has been running for more than 75 years and is currently organized and operated through the First Congregational Church of Lebanon, the First Baptist Church of Lebanon and the St. Francis of Assisi Church.

The school exceeded its monetary goal and raised more than $3,000 for World Vision Clean Water Project, which is considered to be the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world.

The organization drills wells, provides education on proper hygiene and sanitation practices, offers training for community volunteers on maintenance and repairs of water access points and more, according to its website.

Aside from walking the green with the jugs, students discussed the experience that those in developing countries go through to obtain water.

In many situations, water collected by children and women in those areas is dirty and unsafe.

Unsafe drinking water contributes to more child deaths than AIDS and malaria combined, according to the VBS website.

"The water jugs we've been carrying are really heavy and kids (in other countries) are carrying even more than that. So, I think raising (over $3,000) is very, very, very good and I'm surprised we even got this much because I brought in $30 and I thought that was a lot," student Tessa Ruffo, 10, of Lebanon said.

Bible school organizers and students said the mission project has done an excellent job in involving members of the community, explaining residents have walked right up to the school to hand them donations and talk about the mission project.

"I think the kids have done a wonderful job, not only showing empathy and raising awareness amongst each other, but also to everyone around the green and in town. We've gotten so many people involved and I'm super proud of them," school group leader Alexis Zimnoch, 15, of Lebanon said.

Although they've already exceeded their initial goal, the school wants to see how much more money they can raise to help people obtain safe drinking water, according to teacher Teresa Bielecki.

To make a donation, visit bit.ly/LebanonVBS. To contact the Lebanon Vacation Bible School, call 860-861-5003.

Follow Lisa Massicotte on Twitter - @LMassicotteTC.


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