Pastor: Well, hi Gabby. Itís so nice to see you. Weíve really missed you. Just where have you been?
Gabby: Been? Where have I been? Iíve been everywhere. Iíve been on VACATION!
Pastor: Vacation? I didnít know flamingos go on vacation.
Gabby: And why not? After all I donít have to make any travel arrangements.
Pastor: You donít? So tell me, Gabby, how do you travel?
Gabby: (Looks around) I FLY!
Pastor: Well that can be very expensive.
Gabby: (Looks around again) Pastor, ever heard the expression ďFree as a bird?Ē
Pastor: Yeah, well that is an expression. Okay, so youíve traveled this summer. Where did you go?
Gabby: Well, it just so happens that I have some of my vacation pictures. Wanna see them?
Pastor: (sounding bored) Oh, joy! Vacation pictures.
Gabby: Your enthusiasm is overwhelming. Would it help if you had some popcorn to watch the picture show?
Pastor: Popcorn? You bet. Iíll bet the kids would like some, too.
Gabby: Okay, Pastor, itís in the big bowl. Help yourself and pass it around. Now, is everybody ready for the great Gabby Vacation Picture Show?
Pastor, Iíll need a little help up here with my pictures.
Gabby: Okay, hereís my first picture.
1. Oh, ParisÖooh la la. See me, there on the Eiffel Tower. Nice place to rest but a little breezy.
2. Ahhh, England. A jolly good place but all their buildings have lots of points. Not bird friendly at all.
3. Hereís me at the Acropolis in Greece. Notice the upward motion of my feet. Those rocks were hard to walk on.
4. Then I went to the Kalahari Desert in India. I thought it was a great big beach. Ooooh, hot feet.
5. So then, I moved on to the Taj Mahal and cooled my feet in a rather nice swimming pool.
6. Hereís the Great Wall of China. It was fun sitting up there as I watched all those people climbing all those steps. I was quite comfortable.
7. Gaday, Mate. Here I am in Australia. A fascinating country. Strange building. I nearly slipped right off it.
8. Hang 10. Well, actually it was more like ďdrown a birdĒ. Thatís me hanging on for dear life. That was in Hawaii.(use a surfing type picture)
9. Ahhh, peace and quiet in a beautiful rainforest. Now this was bird friendly.
10. Here I am in South Dakota. Okay, I couldnít resist sitting on old Abeís head.
11. Ahhhhh Choo. I found out I had an allergy when I stopped off in
Idaho. (use a picture of a field of flowers)
Pastor: Those are some very nice pictures Gabby. It sounds like you had a great time.
Gabby: Yeah (sounding disappointed), except for one thing.
Pastor: Whatís that?
Gabby: Iím embarrassed to tell you, Pastor.
Pastor: Donít be silly, Gabby. You can tell us.
Gabby: Pastor, I took a vacationÖ.. from my faith.
Pastor: From your faith?
Gabby: I took the whole summer off. I wasnít here to help you in church every Sunday. I missed all the kids, singing songs, and yes, even hearing your sermons. And most of all, I missed God.
Pastor: Gabby, God is always with you no matter where you are.
Gabby: Pastor, I went ON VACATION. I stopped my faith. What would happen if God went on vacation. There would be no one to hear our prayers, or heal the sick, comfort us when weíre sad or lonely.
We would be in DEEP trouble. God must be really mad at me.
Pastor: Gabby, I told you, God is always with you*. When you go on vacation, you see more of this beautiful world that God created for us. You meet people from all over this wonderful world. And, you can glorify God by being kind and loving to the places you go and the people you meet. Iím sure He was watching over you during your entire vacation.
Gabby: Yeah, youíre right. I did say my prayers every night especially when I got caught up in some air turbulence over Poughkeepsie (I love that name) and almost ran into a Boeing 767. But, I sure hope He wasnít watching me when I had the triple scoop ice cream cone in Paris. Iím sure glad to be home, Pastor and Iím really glad to be in church.
Pastor: Weíre glad to have you back, Gabby.
Gabby: Iíll be here next Sunday, Pastor and all the other Sundays.
Copyright 2003 Gail Peterson
* "God has said, 'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you' " Hebrews 13:5.
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