The young scholars earned their rewards by attending the weekly Bible study meetings, bringing offerings, wearing the Awana uniform, bringing their study books, bringing friends and learning passages of the Bible, according to Sparks Group leader Kelly Mitchell.
“There are 46 members of the Sparks Group here tonight,” Mitchell said of her group of students from kindergarten to grade two. “They’re spending their award money at the Bethlehem Village on toys and presents for their families, if they want to.”
The Fellowship Hall at Liberty Point Church took on the appearance of the town in which Christ came into the world, complete with stalls selling toys and gifts, and older members of Awana and the church in period costumes.
James Whittington, garbed as a shepherd said, “We help the little ones go to the stores to use their bucks to buy things. We’re dressed as shepherds and wise men.”
Derrick Cook, also garbed in period clothing added, “We’re just extras, really.”
Awana, an acronym for Approved Workmen are not Ashamed, meets once a week on Wednesday nights and boasts about 125 members ranging from preschool to high school ages.
Preschool Director Tammy Carson said, “Kids memorize verses and earn Awana bucks. Twice a year they are able to buy things. This Christmas we have the Bethlehem town set up for them. We have gift wrap and tell the Nativity story. A lot of people helped with this. The toys were donated by our wonderful church family. Nobody uses real money, just what was earned in Awana.
Awana scholar Cade Bleidt stood in one of the market stalls looking at the wares for sale. “I want to buy an angel for my mother.”
Another member of Awana, Margaret Alexander said she selected a purse for her mother, but was undecided about a present for her father, Police Chief Hollis Alexander.
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