MARIETTA - Helping children learn the word of God is the mission behind Vacation Bible School and Valarie Garvin of Beverly is happy to be a messenger.
"It is very fulfilling to see the kids get it, they are soaking it in," said Garvin, a mother of five boys, who is a volunteer at Lowell Ecumenical Vacation Bible School at Lowell United Methodist Church.
Attendance for this summer's Vacation Bible School, "SonQuest Rainforest" has surpassed expectations with only one more night to go.
Teen volunteers perform a skit for the children during the opening night of “SonQuest Rainforest” at Lowell United Methodist Church.
Preschoolers sing during song time at Vacation Bible School at Lowell United Methodist Church.
"We have 51 signed up for tonight and that is the most we've had in a long time," Jenny Worthington, 20, of Lowell, said Thursday. Worthington is one of the organizers of this year's event along with her cousin Rachel Worthington, 22.
"We have people who have signed up for the whole week and new people who come each night," she said. "We have registration tables set up every night."
Worthington explained there are quite a few children who are not affiliated with any of the churches sponsoring the Vacation Bible School and some who are not affiliated with a church at all.
For Garvin, that is the most gratifying aspect of volunteering-being a teacher for God.
"There are some kids who will come who haven't been exposed to the Bible and aren't familiar with the stories. I like that I can help spread God's word," she said.
Jonathon Garvin, 10, enjoys Vacation Bible School for many reasons, not the least of which is making friends.
"I like the Bible study and crafts, too," he said, explaining that one of the crafts has been to make a picture frame with animals on it. "I don't know who I'm going to give it to. I might keep it."
Though Lowell's VBS wraps up tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., it isn't too late for interested children to become involved.
Other churches in the area will offer Vacation Bible Schools through next week.
First Presbyterian and Christ United Methodist Churches on Wooster Street in Marietta will offer a joint Vacation Bible School Sunday through Aug. 3. The theme, "Daniel's Courage," will focus on Daniel's adventures in Babylon.
"There will be a marketplace theme, the children will travel in groups to hear of Daniel and tribe time," said Kathryn Erb, 37, director of VBS.
Erb added that "Daniel's Courage" is open to children from age 3 (potty-trained) to those who have completed fifth grade. Contact 373-1800 or 373-1512 for information.
Sand Hill United Methodist Church in Reno and the Tunnel and Warren Chapel United Methodist churches will offer Vacation Bible Schools starting Sunday and Monday respectively. The theme at both will be "SonRise National Park," for children ages 3 through 12. The children will be able to read stories, sing songs and make crafts.
Pastor Wendy Erb explained that the themes are chosen through a workshop held in early spring.
"The workshop is held at a large church in Parkersburg and sponsored by Christian Supply Center," she said. "For the past two years we have had a water theme so we thought we would go out west to the mountains this year and get away from the water."
Those interested should contact Sand Hill at (740) 373-8712 and Tunnel United Methodist Church at (740) 374-5634.