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Bible camp entertains, educates students

"Amazing Grace" has became much more than just a religious hymn for

some local children.

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironton hosted the Amazing Grace Day Camp that provided entertainment and education last week to 20 children in first through sixth grades.

Camp coordinator Sarah Taylor of Springfield worked with the other counselors to make sure the children had fun and learned important life lessons. She said the children have been great and been very receptive to the messages.

"Part of it is we want the kids to have a good time, but the overall goal is to show them that God loves them," she said.

A free, community activity, the Bible camp was sponsored by the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Ohio, an organization that hosts camps all across the state.

Each day the children read stories, played games and learned about themes from the Bible.

Eight-year-old Maria Walters, a student at St. Lawrence school, said the counselors have been nice and that she had a lot of fun.

"I like playing the games and doing crafts. Today we are making picture frames," she said. "They are teaching us about how to love and care for people and telling us about Jesus."

Clay Walker, 8, said he has had a great time and the camp has helped keep him from getting bored during the summer. When asked if he would come back next year, Clay had an emphatic answer.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he said with a smile on his face that spread from ear to ear.

For Taylor, the smiles on the children's faces is all the reward and gratification she needs.

"I love to see how excited they get, how much they enjoy the program," she said. "Even the difficult ones come up and give you a hug and you know they got something from this."

The visit was Taylor's first time in Ironton, but she said she cannot wait to come back.

"The people have been great. I have canvassed all over southern Ohio and the people are so nice," she said. "I say this every time, but these kids are the best."

For another counselor, the stay in Ironton was a sharp contrast to her

hometown.

Helen Mkhwanazi lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and has been in the United States for the past four weeks. The 23-year-old who speaks eight languages said everyone has treated her well and been very friendly.

"I love the kids the most. They give me the inspiration," she said. "God put me here for this reason."