Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 3, 2013

LANDIS — Camouflage, plastic ducks and tents filled the gymnasium at Trinity Lutheran Church this week.
The décor goes along with the church’s vacation Bible school based on the popular A&E series “Duck Dynasty.”
“It all started with a T-shirt,” organizer Ashley Lanning said. “We decided to do camo shirts and one of the kids said ‘Why don’t we do Duck Dynasty.’”
Fellow organizer Emily Carden said the church already had its Bible school curriculum set, but they scrapped it and changed course when the rest of the children seemed to like 9-year-old Makalyn Ramseur’s idea.
“Everybody got so excited about it that it just grew from there,” Carden said.
Each night kicked off with a visit from a different “Duck Dynasty” character, who demonstrates Christian principals.
Lanning said the weeklong Bible school began when the Robertson women dropped by. The ladies are oftentimes the support system for the family on the show.
“We connected it to show that God always supports us and takes care of us,” she said.
Uncle Si stopped in Monday evening.
“He’s a little unusual, so the whole theme for that night was that we are special,” Lanning said. “God made each one of us different and we all have special gifts.”
Lanning said a visit from Mountain Man marked her favorite night.
“He talks really slow in the series, so we talked to the kids about taking time to slow down and pray,” she said.
Teamwork was the theme when brothers Willie and Jase stopped in.
“Everybody has a role to play in God’s team and everybody is important,” Pastor Jared Lanning said. “It’s about everybody working together.”
The week wrapped up with a visit from the show’s main characters Phil and Kay.
“The theme is sticking with it,” Jared Lanning said. “They’ve been married nearly 50 years, so the idea is in the ups and downs God sticks with us and we stick with God.”
Throughout the week, children rotated between music, crafts and outdoor games.
Crafts included survival bracelets, tithing wallets using duct tape as well as slingshots and guns that shot marshmallows.
“It’s a little bit out of the ordinary, but the kids are having a good time,” Ashley Lanning said Tuesday.
Snacks throughout the week included homemade beef jerky and trail mix.
Breanna Ramseur, 10, said she enjoyed the week of Bible school almost as much as the show.
“They aren’t afraid to show their Christianity on national television,” she said. “I like watching it because it’s fun and it relates to God.”
Jordan Beaver, 10, said the lesson from Uncle Si stuck with her.
“It doesn’t matter if you are different because God has made you that way for a reason,” she said. “(Bible school) has been fun and exciting.” During the Bible school, children created first aid kits with scripture and prayers to send to parts of Mississippi affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“This is a way for our younger kids to give back,” Ashley Lanning said.
About 85 children attended the Bible school. Jared Lanning said more than 25 percent of them were non-church members.
“It’s a good community outreach,” he said. “We just hope this will encourage people to be creative with their ministry.
“If we can inspire someone to go a little bit further for the sake of these kids and their faith formation we’ll feel very good about it.”

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.