In the heat of the afternoon sun, Piper Winterkorn shapes a crucifix, two small twigs found on the nearby ground forming the arms and base of the object that is perhaps inspired by her surroundings.
A blade of grass secures the two pieces of wood at their core.
Piper is at 5-Day Club, a Bible study offered at four locations throughout the city this past week and made possible through a partnership involving Child Evangelism Fellowship and Challenge House, which serves as a resource for local neighborhoods.
“I come to 5-Day Clubs because it’s just fun to learn about Jesus,” said the young girl, who lives next door to Challenge House No. 5 on Crockett Street, one of the host sites for the annual clubs.
State director Kari Ash of Child Evangelism Fellowship said the clubs have been in the local community for the past nine years, and this year were offered at five Challenge Houses as well as at Woodland Heights Apartments on Greenville Road.
She said the clubs travel throughout the state each year, going wherever there are children with whom they can share the message of God’s word and wherever they have the availability of trained summer missionaries. Ash said the young missionaries who work with the youth in each community complete training through Christian Youth in Action, a ministry of the fellowship.
Missionaries in Hopkinsville this summer have been Trinity Hardwick and Joshua Spencer of White Mills outside of Elizabethtown.
The gospel message the young missionaries share with their charges comes through a fun and interactive program that includes energetic songs, games, prayer time, stories about missionaries and Bible lessons.
If youngsters learn the memory verses that are a part of the lessons, they get to paint their faces.
“It’s kind of like a high energy VBS on the road,” Ash said, making a comparison to the summer tradition of Vacation Bible School.
The more-than-an-hour-long clubs include morning, afternoon and evening sessions, and the young participants may leave and return later in the program; they love the sessions, Ash said, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Heaven Primes, daughter of Challenge House No. 5 ambassadors Matthew and Ishmearine Primes, mimicked the movements of Hardwick and Spencer Thursday afternoon as they stood in front of the group and guided them through one of the interactive songs.
“Turn around. Look to God above,” one such song encouraged. “I’m turned around in my behavior.”
Spencer conducted a review of past lessons with the group, asking them to recall “Word Ups,” lessons from earlier in the week.
“God can change me,” one youngster offered from Monday’s lesson, while another recalled Tuesday’s message of “God is kind.”
On Wednesday, a pivotal point was “The Holy Spirit is the helper.”
Spencer revealed Thursday’s “Word Up” to youngsters gathered earlier this week: “God can save anyone.”
Hardwick shared Romans 5:8, showing the youth how to look for the “huge 5” and the “tiny 8” to find the verse in their Bibles.
“God showed his love for us by just making us who we are,” Hardwick said, explaining that, even though people have sinned, “God still loves us because he died for us.”
Hardwick told the youngsters they would get to go to Heaven one day if they believe in Christ as their savior.
Later she noted that there are lots of things she could be doing with her summer, but she said she was working as a missionary to see the kids’ smiles and to know she helped them in their spiritual journey.
“(It) is a great feeling to know they will be in Heaven one day and to know that you helped save a child,” she said.
REACH TONYA S. GRACE at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.