By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – A budding church from Lobata held its first-ever Vacation Bible School for local children this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Jesus Way Tabernacle is a church that was started by Pastor Matthew Jude, a welder and father of three children (Katlyn, age 17; Noah, age 16; and Carlie, age 15). Jude, who ministered for several years, felt called by God to begin his own church in 2012, naming it Jesus Way Tabernacle to represent his desire to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ rather than doctrine created by man. He says he is truly overwhelmed by how far his church has come in such a short period of time.
“God has truly blessed us with these kids and church members who really want to spread the message of Jesus,” Jude said. “We have come a long way. We still have a ways to go, and a building that needs to be completed. We will get there when God wants us to, though.”
The theme of the VBS was “Share Your Testimony,” and children were taught the meaning and significance of a testimony.
On Thursday, Jude spoke with the children and each child present had the opportunity to share things they were grateful that God blessed them with. Also on Thursday, the children participated in games, such as an egg toss, three-legged race and a game in which they had to feed each other baby food (but the catch was they could only hold the spoons with their mouths). The night ended with s’mores and a bonfire.
“It was truly good for my soul,” said Missy Jude, Pastor Jude’s wife. “I think it’s wonderful. I think it is really touching kids in the community by having events like this. It’s important that we do this, even though we don’t have a building because we’re reaching out to children and showing them the love of Jesus. We’re reaching out to the lost in Jesus’ name, and we’re establishing that Jesus Way Tabernacle will be a church that is involved with its community.”
Friday the children were able to tie-dye T-shirts, play more games (including a sack race) and take part in an ice-cream sundae bar, featuring nearly 20 different toppings for them to choose from.
Also on Friday many of the adults were able to share their own testimonies with the group of children, whose ages ranged from two to 17.
Sunday School teacher Inga Hurley said, “It helps them to be thankful to our creator, to Jesus. It’s important to teach them while they’re young because sometimes, when you grow older, you don’t know what a testimony is because you were never taught. A true testimony is not about ourselves, a true testimony is about praising the Lord. I think that it is important because it teaches our children about the love of God. It’s important to show them what true Christianity is.”
On Saturday the children played more games, but the evening was focused on the ultimate goal of encouraging all of the children to share their testimony with the group.
Pastor Jude gave his testimony to the kids first, and prompted them to focus on praising God and giving God the glory.
“A testimony isn’t about complaining or bragging,” Jude said. “We need to understand that God gets the glory for all things that happen in our lives. We need to learn how to thank God and give our savior credit for everything he has done for us. We are overcomers by our testimony, and I want you all to know that.”
The VBS brought in a few new faces for Jesus Way Tabernacle, and left all of the adults who participated feeling overjoyed that the event was such a success.
“Hopefully by the time we’re in our building next year, we can do this again and see even more children experiencing the love of Christ,” said Missy Jude.
The building site for Jesus Way Tabernacle is located at Lobata on W.Va. Road 49. The building has been partially completed, and church members are hopeful it will ready for use by fall or winter of this year. Until then, church services are held at Pastor Jude’s home and he encourages anyone who is interested in attending these services to contact him at 304-235-3392 or email@example.com.
Hayley Molloy Cook is a news reporter and writes features for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279, or on Twitter @hayleymcook.