Lima church holds ‘fiery’ VBS for area children

LIMA — Despite Saturday’s morning rain, it was a fiery vacation Bible school at St. Paul’s AME Church in Lima, to the point where a fire truck even showed up.

Go To The World, a Columbus-based Christian ministry organization, brought a General Motors auto plant fire response truck to the West Spring Street church Saturday as part of the church’s VBS program, one that centered around looking to Jesus Christ as a source of safety during the fiery trials of life.

The central biblical reference for the event, according to Rev. Stephanie Ransom-Upshaw, an associate pastor at St. Paul’s, is the account in Daniel 3 of three Jewish exiles, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, being saved by God after being thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship a golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

“The three boys, when they go in, they are not touched by the fire,” she said. “There appears a fourth person in the fiery furnace, and the video they’re watching says this person was Jesus.”

Ransom-Upshaw hoped to instill in the children attending that no matter what trials they may encounter, they can know a Savior who can be with them in the fires and deliver them out.

“Whenever they’re in a situation where they feel like they need help or to be rescued, I hope they will pray and ask Jesus for help,” she said. “If it’s sickness, if there are things going on at home, if they’re being bullied, they need to know there is a God who will listen to their prayers and will answer them.”

Thanks to materials donated by the Lima Fire Department, attendees also learned about practical fire safety, including staying low to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation and finding ways to get out of a burning building as quickly as possible.

Dr. Carey Girgis of Go To The World said that this ministry also has a hook and ladder truck that had responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack at New York City’s World Trade Center, but they were unable to bring that vehicle Saturday due to mechanical issues with the truck. Still, he hoped that the plant fire truck would give attendees an interactive component to the VBS while emphasizing that there is only one who can save them from the fires in life and in the life to come.

“It’s important to know the reality that there’s a hell and there’s a heaven,” he said. “Hell was created for Satan, but because Satan is against God, he went after us, the human race, God’s children. When we follow Satan, we go with him, but that’s why Jesus came, to die on the cross and save us from our sins.”

To learn more about Go To The World, go to