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Hero Hospital VBS

 “Home to God's Outrageous Love”
From Matthew 21:14-16

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Let's explore the amazing stories of Jesus and the people he inspired.

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Building a Place for Healing

Important Definition


Native American: A member of one of the nations or tribes that flourished in North America long before the United States or Canada became countries.  Many Native American tribes still flourish in North America and share their histories and cultures with others.  Native Americans are sometimes also called American Indians, First Nations People, or Indigenous People.

Historical Guide: Susan Le Flesche Picotte

Susan La Flesche Picotte

From PBS


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Background on the Guide for Leaders:

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, of the Omaha Tribe, was the daughter of Chief Joseph Iron Eye.  She was the first Native American doctor.  As valedictorian of her med school class, Susan may have had numerous options but insisted on returning to her Omaha reservation in Nebraska.  She treated thousands of patients and travelled thousands of miles.  As a child she had witnessed a white doctor promise four times in a single night to help a sick native patient.  In reality, that doctor allowed the patient to die without even attempting to help.  Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte never in her life turned away a patient.  She worked so hard at the reservation clinic and so outshined the white doctor also working there that he quit in protest.  Undaunted, she continued on as the only doctor for over a thousand square miles and even raised enough money to build a hospital.  Dr. Susan’s hospital was so well regarded that it attracted white patients from outside the reservation, whom Susan welcomed.  Not everyone in the tribe was happy with Dr. Susan’s introduction of new medical practices but she deeply respected the traditions and customs of her tribe and worked with others as a native leader.  Her faith in Jesus informed her in how to share new ideas with her people while pushing outside authorities like the Office of Indian Affairs to treat the tribe fairly and justly.

If you are virtual or in person:

Have the kids and participating adults get out their Builder Book for Hero Hospital.  They will use the book to follow along as you talk about the Historical Guide's Story, Jesus' Story, and as they think about their own story.  As you'll see, they'll as use the book to award Builder Brick stickers (printed on ordinary 1x2.67 inch address labels which are then cut in half).

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If you are virtual:

Sharescreen this interactive graphic and let the participants take turns in choosing an animation of Susan for you to click on to learn more about her story (Susan's story is also included in the Builder Book):

If you are in person:

Show this interactive graphic on a large screen and let the participants take turns clicking on an animation of Susan to learn more about her story (Susan's story is also included in the Builder Book):

Susan Le Flesche Picotte and building a place for...

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Native American

Susan was born in 1865 on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska, U.S.A.

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Susan had three siblings and was the youngest.

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First Native American Doctor 
Susan studied really hard and became the first doctor in the United States whose people lived here long before there was a U.S.

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Susan learned a lot from her dad, Omaha Chief Iron Eye, and returned to be with her family after medical school.

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Susan read the Bible and believed that healing people was a mission given to her by God.

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Really Good Doctor

Susan was so good at helping people get better that other doctors became jealous that people came from far away to see her.

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Really Really Good Doctor

Susan often travelled long distances herself to bring healing to people in remote places.

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Understood Loss

Even though Susan was so good at helping and healing, her husband died of disease and she had to deal with that loss.

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Difficult People

 Susan worked with a lot of difficult people who thought she was wrong to help others or wasn’t doing it the right way, but this never stopped her.

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Built a Hospital

 Susan raised the money to build a brand-new hospital for her people.

Award Susan Builder Bricks!

Ella Loved to see new places -

She travelled all over the United States and even the world but called Ohio home.

Make sure all the kids have their Builder Books opened to the Susan's Awesome page and that they have a sheet of Builder Brick stickers ready.  Tell the kids that their goal is to give Susan the most possible Builder Bricks.  For every brick awarded, a matching sticker should be added to the Susan's Awesome page.  Bricks should be awarded for all the things she did to build up Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God.  That includes things like this:

  • One brick for every example from the story about music (pink sticker)

  • One brick for every example of making something or being creative (purple sticker)

  • One brick for every example of learning and exploring ideas (blue sticker)

  • One brick for being a good example and leading the way (yellow sticker)

  • One brick for accomplishing something new in life (green sticker)

  • Two bricks for bringing healing others (orange sticker)

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Jesus' Story
Watch the Lego Video about John 9:1-41

Let's check in on Brick World to see what's going on with Jesus--the ultimate builder of God's Kingdom.  Keep an eye out for ways Susan is a builder like Jesus, and how we can be too.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Award Susan Bonus Builder Bricks

Make sure the kids still have their Susan's Awesome page and Builder Brick stickers.  The kids can now give Fabiola bonus bricks:

  • Two bricks for every connection made to Jesus’ Story (red sticker)

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Award Builder Bricks to the Kids

Make sure all the kids have their I'm Awesome page and Builder Bricks stickers.  Tell the kids that their goal is to award the most possible Builder Bricks to everyone.  For every brick awarded, a matching sticker should be added to their I'm Awesome page.  Kids can give bricks to themselves, to each other, or you can give them bricks.  Every Builder Brick given should be explained.


Builder Bricks can be awarded for any of these reasons (or reasons you can come up with):

  • Two bricks following Jesus and helping people like he did (red sticker)

  • One bricks for something about music (pink sticker)

  • One brick for being creative or making things (purple sticker)

  • One brick for learning and exploring ideas (blue sticker)

  • One brick for being a good example and leading the way (yellow sticker)

  • One brick for being a good team player (green sticker)

  • Two bricks for bringing healing to others like Susan (orange sticker)

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Question to Explore

Why do some experience an illness or disability when others don’t?

Answer: Sometimes we know and sometimes we don't.


Bring it all Together, Brick by Brick

It's up to leaders how they want to share this reflection with the participating kids and adults.  You can read it, share it conversationally, or simply use it to help answer questions that might come up:

Susan had to ask herself this question many times, "Why do some experience an illness or disability when others don’t?"  Not only as a doctor did she deal with this, but also as a spouse to her husband.  Susan saw many people getting sick from or even dying from things that could be prevented, including her husband.  Susan was a Native American and met other doctors who thought Native Americans didn't even deserve treatment when they got sick or deserve help with preventing diseases.  Susan couldn't change everyone's mind but she could try--and she healed many people in the process.

Jesus was travelling around and healing people left and right.  One person he healed was born with blindness.  People got confused by this because they assumed that if he was born blind he didn't deserve any help.  For Jesus things were obvious.  Everyone deserves healing.  

Even in 2021 there are a lot of diseases and disabilities that doctors don't understand enough to treat or prevent.  What we know for sure to be 100% and totally true is that prejudice should never be the thing that keeps someone from healing.

Today you are challenged to make your church into "a place for healing." 

Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Healing:

 “I know one thing for sure: that though I was blind, now I see.  I came into the clear light of day.”

From John 9:1-41

Story One
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About Author

About the Authors

Hero Hospital is a collaborative effort of people and churches in the Southern Ohio Synod and beyond.  Dan Jacob (Ministry Associate at Wittenberg University and Youth Leader at Peace Lutheran in Beavercreek) and Gary Pecuch (SOS Youth and Family Ministry Coach) have organized these efforts.  If you're curious about how all these original materials were made then check out Inkscape (graphic design), DaVinci Resolve (videos), Animatron (animations), EZgif (gifs), Artfire (lego minifigures), Audacity (audio clips), and Wix (website).

The site also showcases much of the other work of Dan and the artists he works with.  If you'd like to support projects like Hero Hospital, please consider heading over to the Make Mobile page to check out another major project that could use your help.  

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