By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
HAGERSTOWN, Md.—Thirteen-year-old Estefany Zambrano led a successful two-church bilingual VBS where eight children made confessions of faith and countless spiritual seeds were planted. Estefany is the daughter of Ender Zambrano, a church planter who started Iglesia Bautista Hispania de Hagerstown. Members partnered with their host church, Virginia Avenue Church, to minister to the 50 children who attended.
This is the second VBS the young leader has directed. Last year Estefany led VBS for Primera Iglesia Church and conducted it exclusively in Spanish. Over 40 kids attended and five made confessions of faith. She asked children to bring friends but many of those friends only spoke English. The young girl began envisioning the possibility of a bilingual VBS.
After the successful first VBS that Estefany planned, Aaron Miller, pastor of Virginia Avenue Church, asked her to be in charge of VBS this year. It was Estefany’s opportunity to direct the bilingual, bicultural VBS she had hoped for. She set meeting dates and the prospective leaders came together to make plans.
Estefany is soft spoken and articulate. Describing her duties, she said she recruited teachers and assistants, introduced them to the VBS curriculum, distributed material, planned the rotation schedule and helped decorate.
“It was a very good experience,” Aidsa Zambrano, Estafany’s mother said, referring to her daughter’s leadership and to the VBS program itself.
“A lot of kids speak very broken English, some don’t speak Spanish and it’s the same with the adults,” Lisa Molner, Virginia Avenue Church clerk said. But the language difference was not a barrier. “The kids were interacting and the two cultures were interacting. It went off very well,” Molner said.
Church members worked together decorating the building to prepare for the week. They used LifeWay’s English version of the Boomerang Express curriculum and adapted it as needed. Take home papers for parents were available in both English and Spanish. As the week went on, many of the children, teen helpers and adults were picking up a little of each language.
“The smaller kids pick it up more informally by osmosis,” Molner said.
Throughout the week the kids worked together on crafts, sang, ate and heard Bible stories. Children and adults built and strengthened relationships.
The church sent invitations throughout the community for a block party as a festive end to the week’s events.
Estefany accepted Christ during an altar call when she was five-years-old. She’s young but has worked in ministry through her young life, helping with Sunday school, and other ministries alongside her mother. She currently helps manage the church sound and video system
“I’m amazed how Estefany has given all her abilities and leadership in God’s hands and He is using her for His Kingdom,” Ender Zambrano said.
“I’m very proud of my children who are serving God in their young ages. My son, Gabriel, who is nine-years-old, enjoys giving away invitations to every Hispanic he encounters. He also requests prayers for his classmates so they can know Christ. And he loves to praise the Lord.
Something we try to do as a family is said in Joshua 24:15: “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”