(Part 1) (Part 2)
I received this humorous piece from someone who wishes to be known simply as a former female attendant of Charity Ministries’ Youth Bible School. While a few things said in this article (and I emphasize the word ‘few’) are exaggerated, things usually do happen this way for many who attend YBS. It’s my understanding that there will be sequel parts to this as well.
Charity Bible School: The Experience Recounted
First off, your parents and congregation start pressuring you to go. You’re scared because you’ve seen what happens to youth people who go to Bible School. They come back with creepy zombie faces and recount stories about how they became convicted about their rock music collection and how the first thing they did when they got back was to empty out their entire bedroom and burn it all with fire. Everybody in the church praises God and then looks at you expectantly.
You fill out the form and lie a lot about what kind of music and books you like, because you figure they’ll tattle on you if you say something wrong, since they ask for your parent’s names, numbers and the same for your pastor. You get accepted. Oh, crap.
So you pack your most conservative clothes and wonder if jean skirts are considered worldly right now. It seems to vary over time what is worldly or not, so you opt to skip the jean skirt and pack extra head coverings. The rules focus a LOT on what you can’t wear and how if you talk to a member of the opposite sex, you will probably be separated with a firehose. Or something pretty close.
Day 1: You arrive after driving all day long in a 15 passenger van stuffed with other youth. Or maybe you were stuffed into the back of a tiny cramped sedan. It depends on how many teens that your pastor was able to guilt into going.
You hope to God (reverently, of course) that your host family isn’t weird. You’ve heard stories about weird host families. You peel yourself out of your seat and wander around the parking lot until you spot a creepy looking mini-van.
“Please,” you think, “Don’t let that be my host family.”
You’re in luck. As a woman and about 6 small children who seem to be under the age of 5 pile out of the van, your friend Edna swallows. It’s her family. The woman smiles at her and says brightly,
“We live out a ways on a farm so we like to get up real early but I’m sure you’ll fit right in. We can’t WAIT to see how God works in your life this week dear!”
Edna shoots you a pleading look and walks away, immediately surrounded by the horde of small silent children. You finally find your ride. It’s a silent-looking guy with a Hutterite accent and a disinclination to talk too much. At least he isn’t harassing you about what your relationship with your authorities is like. You lean back in his car and inhale the scent of Ephrata farmland. It’s going to be a long week.