26th July 2018

Ranelagh-Holiday-Bible-Club-285-1-of-1The Ranelagh Seventh-day Adventist church in Dublin was transformed into the city of Babylon in the first week of July. It was Holiday Bible Club week. Around seventy children aged four to twelve became members of ancient tribes of Israel. Fifteen adult volunteers and ten teenagers led the kids in their tribe time preparing them every day for a new discovery.

“Daniel – a young man taken in captivity. He liked vegetables, prayed and survived after spending a night in the company of a few hungry lions.” If that’s all you teach your kids about Daniel, you might want to look at it again! The theme,

“Babylon – Daniel’s courage in captivity” explored many more aspects of this spell-bounding Bible story:

Ranelagh-Holiday-Bible-Club-285-1-of-1-2 Day 1 - “When things change, God is with you” as He was with Daniel when he was taken in captivity, away from his parents, friends, country and everything he was used to.

Day 2 - “When you need help, God is with you”, as He was with Daniel, who needed wisdom to interpret king’s dream.

Day 3 - “When you are afraid, God is with you”, as He appeared in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Day 4 - “When you are lonely, God is with you” as Daniel discovered when he continued to pray even though it meant he might get into trouble.

Day 5 - “When you are thankful, God is with you” as God saved Daniel from the lions.

Ranelagh-Holiday-Bible-Club-285-1-of-1-3Every day, after the opening celebration and tribe time, we followed Daniel and the rest of the captives to Babylon. Kids visited the Babylonian marketplace where they experienced for the first time (just like Daniel) the smells, sounds and sites of the ancient shops. They designed their own hanging gardens and planted seeds, decorated memory boxes, constructed musical instruments and printed their names on a clay (just like in the old times). They even tasted locusts – a very popular treat in Babylon (of course prepared with a 21st century twist of chocolate and pecans).

At the palace playground the kids got trained by the king’s most high officials and the Bible message of the day was reinforced with every game.

In the upper room, they listened the stories of Daniel, told by… well, Daniel himself. The superb drama brought life to the old Bible stories and made kids and adults laugh, cry and shout.

Ranelagh-Holiday-Bible-Club-285-1-of-1-4Kids from all Dublin churches came to immerse themselves into the atmosphere of the Babylonian exile. They brought their friends who wouldn’t usually attend church.

Visitors from the community came to see what all the unusual noises and scenes were. and one mother signed up her four-year-old daughter for the rest of the week.

Ranelagh-Holiday-Bible-Club-1-of-1-2The time of exile might seem distant and difficult to relate to, but one thing is for sure - the faithless culture Daniel and his friends were taken into, is the same as the world our kids grow into today. The kings have different names, people worship different false gods and modern secularism has many different faces. But the God of ancient Israel, who watched over Daniel and his friends, is the same today. He is with us! Always! And the kids in Dublin know this quite well!

Relive the experience by viewing the photo gallery here.

[Petar Popivanov]

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