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Sun, Feb. 16

Church Couple brings Easter to children<BR>

"He is not here, but is risen!" (Luke 24:6)

Easter Sunday is one of the biggest holidays of the year. It is celebrated with colorful eggs, flowers, baskets filled with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks.

Review/Diane DeHamer

Jim and Cheryl Rasmussen enjoy teaching Biblical truths about the Christian holidays to children.

Jim and Cheryl Rasmussen of Chino Valley want to teach children the true meaning of Easter, so this Easter season, they are in charge of "Easter for Kids" day at Hope Lutheran Church here in Chino Valley. Both Jim and Cheryl have degrees from the Channel Islands Bible College and Seminary, in California. Before moving to Chino Valley last year, they were youth and education directors with their church for the past 15 years.

"Being youth and education directors with the church was a way to grow with our own children," Jim said.

Cheryl and Jim have three sons, and four grandchildren. David lives in Chino, Robert resides in Norway, and Jason in Seattle.

"Normally churches have a one week vacation Bible school. But, as another option, we are doing five 1 day classes with the children for all the major Christian holidays," Jim explained.

"Easter for Kids" is on April 10 from 9a.m. until noon, for ages 5-13 and open to all kids in the area.

"There will be stories, crafts, and snacks," said Cheryl.

One of the crafts, will be an egg hunt, but instead of being filled with candy the eggs will have different symbols in them representing parts of the Easter story, like a piece of wood, (for the cross), a nail, a number 3 (for the third day), or a heart, because Jesus died for us because he loves us.

"When the children open their eggs, they each explain what their piece means. They take ownership of their egg and are so proud," Cheryl said smiling.

The Rasmussens agree that they want to emphasize the positive side for the kids.

"I think the main thing for the children to understand is that Jesus came, lived and died. But, the real importance is that the cross and the tomb are empty and we don't have to fear death" said Jim. The emphasis is on the empty tomb which means the resurrection," he added.

Jim and Cheryl enjoy teaching and working with the youth of their church, and letting them see that church can be fun.

" This Bible information is so important for kids to learn," declared Jim. Because the Easter Bunny only offers pleasure for today, but the Easter story is joy for eternity,"

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