"What we have done," Ross said, "is taken a theme commonly associated with Easter, like the Easter egg hunt, and restored its ties to the Christian faith. While the celebration we're having here today has tons of candy and fun for the kids, the core reason we're here is to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ."
Ross said one of the ways he and his congregation integrated Christian values with the fun of Easter was to include "Resurrection eggs" with the standard candy-filled eggs for the children to find.
"What the Resurrection eggs have inside is an item related to the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and the children learn the story behind those items as they turn them in to receive a prize."
Lisa Reitzel, a member of Harmony Church, said the Easter egg hunt required a lot of preparation.
"It took us just over two weeks to get the egg hunt set up,' she said, "and everything from the plastic eggs to the candy and the time it took to stuff the two together was donated by the wonderful people here."
While it took two weeks to prepare all the eggs, the children's hunt for them lasted a mere 33 minutes.
Assisting with the egg hunt was Teen Challenge International of Mid-America, a not-for-profit recovery program.
"Teen Challenge takes a faith-based approach to recovery from drugs and alcohol," program director Wayne Soemo said. "We don't utilize the 12-step system. Instead we examine the lifestyle choices that people make that can lead them down the wrong path and seek to treat first the spiritual ailments of an addict."
Teen Challenge helps people of all ages and from all walks of life all over the world.
"The program started in New York city about 50 years ago as an outreach program aimed at helping youth who were in street gangs, which explains the name," Soemo said, "But as the drug epidemic grew, so did Teen Challenge. We now operate around the world and have expanded the scope of our services. Here on a local level we work regularly with Harmony Church, and it's great to be able to help with this event."
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