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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 Heroes

Important Definitions


Slavery: Forcefully taking away a person's ability to make any choice for themselves and treating them like they do not matter at all except for how they can be used to help yourself.  God totally forbids slavery and treating human beings like objects or possessions.

Trauma: When something that hurt someone in the past continues to hurt them in the present so much that they are stuck with the pain.  Trauma is connected to mental illnesses like PTSD.

Historical Guide: Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

From U.S. Library of Congress


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Background on the Guide for Leaders:

Harriet Tubman is as heroic as heroes come.  In fact, there should probably be a picture of her next to the word “hero” in the dictionary.  You may already know a lot about Harriet, but did you know she was a nurse and even managed a hospital?  Harriet also lived with a disability throughout her life after having been struck in the head by a slavemaster at age twelve, while trying to protect a captured runaway slave.  She experienced sometimes crippling headaches and possibly epilepsy and narcolepsy.  Harriet risked her life time and time again to protect others.  She did this as a kid, she did this as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she did this as a spy for the Union Army, she did this as a battlefield nurse.  She did all this heroic work not for credit, but because it was right.  Harriet was guided by her deep faith and trust in God’s promise to set people free.  She believed completely in Jesus’ words, “God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.”  After the Civil War the United States passed a law to finally pay the nurses, like Harriet, who had worked tirelessly during the war.  Harriet and many other black nurses were still excluded from being paid.  It wasn’t until 1899, when Harriet was almost 80, that the United States Congress finally agreed to give her a pension of $20 per month.  In our country today, people are working to remember Harriet by putting her portrait on every new twenty dollar bill.

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 Harriet for you to click on to learn more about her story (Harriet'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 Harriet to learn more about her story (Harriet's story is also included in the Builder Book):

Harriet Tubman and building a place for...

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African American

Harriet was born in 1822 in Maryland, U.S.A.

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Harriet had eight siblings and was the middle child.

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Jumped In to Save Someone

When Harriet was only a kid, she jumped in front of a slave master who was throwing a metal weight at another slave.


Lived with a Disability

Harriet was hit hard in the head by a slave master and lived her whole life with crippling headaches and maybe even epilepsy.

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Escaped Slavery

Harriet led herself and others on a daring escape from their slave master, reaching freedom.

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Civil War Nurse

 Harriet served in the Civil War as a nurse helping wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

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Civil War Spy

Harriet became a spy for the Union Army, helping soldiers to win the war against slavery.

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Spiritual Songs

Harriet and others sang amazing songs called Spirituals to keep their hopes up and to communicate.

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Faith made Harriet Tubman fearless in the face of certain danger because she knew she was following God’s path, people even called her “Moses.”

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Conductor on The Underground Railroad

Harriet led crowds of people out of slavery, passing through many towns and forests on the way to freedom.

Harriet voiced by Connie Lester of New Hope Lutheran Church in Dayton, OH.

Award Harriet 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 Harriet's Awesome page and that they have a sheet of Builder Brick stickers ready.  Tell the kids that their goal is to give Harriet the most possible Builder Bricks.  For every brick awarded, a matching sticker should be added to the Harriet'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 overcoming hardship with courage (orange sticker)

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Jesus' Story
Watch the Lego Video about Matthew 4:19-25

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 Harriet is a builder like Jesus, and how we can be too.  (You can enlarge the video within the video player.)

Award Harriet Bonus Builder Bricks

Make sure the kids still have their Harriet's Awesome page and Builder Brick stickers.  The kids can now give Harriet 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 Brick 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 for 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 overcoming hardship with courage like Harriet (orange sticker)

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Question to Explore

What should you do if your friend experiences an illness or disability?

Answer: Help them overcome hardships.


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:

Everybody faces hardships in life.  People who live with an illness or disability have their own set of hardships.  Let's look at Harriet, she lived with a disability caused by a brain injury.  It meant that she had the hardship of headaches and possibly even epilepsy.  She also lived through one of the worst hardships of all time, slavery.  Harriet was not in it alone.  She learned a lot from her mother and from stories about her grandparents.  She relied on her siblings and other enslaved people.  After escaping slavery, Harriet gained allies and friends that grew more and more convinced that by helping Harriet overcome her hardships, they could help her help a lot of people.  

People learned quickly that Jesus was someone who helped people.  Many came from far and wide for his help, including people who had epilepsy like Harriet.  We also think that the people who came to Jesus were dealing with something called trauma.  Bad experiences had hurt not just their bodies but also their minds.  Their hard pasts were stuck with them in the present.  Jesus knew that they didn't have to stay stuck.  He helped people to overcome trauma by showing them how to build God's Kingdom and sharing all its goodness.

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

Go out and do it!!!

Building A Place for Heroes:

 “He taught people the truth of God—the good news of the kingdom.  Word got around. Jesus healed them, one and all.”

From Matthew 4:19-25

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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. Special thanks goes to Connie Lester of New Hope Lutheran Church in Dayton, OH, for providing the voice for Harriet Tubman.  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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