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Washington Pastor ‘Buried’ Alive


Many pastors get buried in their work, but Rev. Joseph Kamphuis of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Zillah, Wash., took that to a new level during this year’s vacation Bible school.

Kamphuis gave the 82 children at VBS a challenge: if they could bring in $950 in offerings, they could bury him in a large sandbox. Terry Berkompas built the man-sized box. “It was kind of funny because he was measuring me up on Thursday night like an undertaker,” said Kamphuis.

Rev. Joseph Kamphuis was buried by VBS children.

Teri Kamphuis

The children and VBS volunteers raised $1,554. Part of the funds went to Faith Comes by Hearing, a ministry that puts the New Testament on MP3 players for men and women serving in the military.

Additional funds went toward providing fish fingerlings for people in Cambodia, a project through the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. Each fingerling helps a family produce a pond of 1,000 fish.

Michelle Elenbaas, who directed the VBS program, said, “It was fun to watch some kids come in, point out the donation buckets to their new friends, and empty their paper bag of money.”

Since the children met Kamphuis’ challenge, they came to the final evening of VBS with their sand buckets ready. Kamphuis, outfitted in scuba gear, was buried in the makeshift box built that same day.

“I’m glad to be able to offer myself up to support very worthy causes. The way I see it, a temporary inconvenience on my part is worth the lasting change,” said Kamphuis.

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