On October 10th Hurricane Michael made landfall with wind speeds sustained at 155 miles an hour. Over 5 months later and Panama City and the surrounding areas are still living in the wreckage. Even still, the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental US since Hurricane Andrew cannot stop this city from focusing on sharing the Gospel with children.
Every Saturday since Michael is a crucial time for residents to focus on damage to their homes. With nearly 9,000 homes with moderate damage and over 6,000 homes with major damage in Panama City, Callaway, Parker, Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe, (according to ECPI data) there is more than enough work to be done. However, on Saturday, March 9th over 100 volunteers gave up a Saturday and met at Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City. What could be worth the sacrifice for these locals? These volunteers represented many different churches that came to the regional Vacation Bible School (VBS) training to be equipped and encouraged to share the Gospel this summer to children through their churches.
The importance of VBS is something that Ginger Owens believes wholeheartedly. As not only the regional coordinator for the training, but also Minister of Childhood Education at First Baptist Church Panama City, Ginger stood in front of all of the volunteers on the 9th and explained the lasting impact VBS has on children and the community. We are in a crisis. Individuals are lonelier than ever while being addicted to instantaneous communication and their phones. The solution is simple: Jesus. Ginger said this “Vacation Bible School is the biggest evangelistic effort of the Southern Baptist Convention and First Baptist Church Panama City. For our area VBS brings hope to Bay County. We will be praying that this year will be the biggest and best ever as we zoom in and focus on Jesus.”
Last year 21,376 churches reported hosting a VBS and 65, 301 salvation decisions were reported from Vacation Bible School. Do not miss out on the opportunity in your area to be a part of VBS and make a difference for eternity this summer!