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A bit of the Amazon in Tyrone

Most local residents would find it hard to believe that there is a little bit of Amazon in Tyrone, but an afternoon trip this week to the Amphitheatre in Reservoir Park may prove otherwise. Emmanuel Baptist Church of Tyrone is sponsoring the Amazon Outfitters Music Camp there from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Open to children from kindergarten to eighth grade, the music camp culminates with a concert Thursday night.
The Amphitheatre isn’t the only place in Tyrone the Amazon touches. The Amazon Outfitters Kids Club, a Vacation Bible School, is also running from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Neptune Fire Hall ballfield and the Teaberry Apartments playground.
Although Emmanuel Baptist Church is sponsoring the music camp and the VBS, the bulk of the work is being done by 15 Florida residents. Headed by Dr. Greg Wrigley, Director of Missions of the Black Creek Baptist Association (of the Southern Baptist Convention), the group leads the two Vacation Bible Schools in the morning in addition to the music camp.
The Florida group is from the Orange Park area, about 20 miles Southwest of Jacksonville. In 1995, while a pastor, Dr. Wrigley was looking for a missions trip for his church, and through the Conemaugh Valley Association of the Southern Baptist Convention (in Duncansville), was directed to Emmanuel Baptist. A visit in 1995 was very rewarding, and a return trip was made in 1997, and every year since. This year two vans made the trip, with 10 of the 15 helpers being teenagers. The group financed the trip themselves through fund raisers such as yard sales and car washes. Once in Tyrone members of the local church provide meals, and the group has been staying on the second floor of the YMCA.
One of the things that has impressed Dr. Wrigley is the reception the group has received in Tyrone. “The people here are very gracious,” Wrigley stated. “We have held block parties, and the next day folks are blowing their horns and waving to me as I walk down the street.”
Part of their missionary outreach is to go door to door with the gospel, and looking for believers without a church home. He has been very impressed with the reception they have received, from the Mayor to the Chief of police to those with no interest in religious things.
Part of the outreach this week is a family movie, The Prince of Egypt. The movie will be shown Wednesday the YMCA gym, and starts at 7p.m. Free popcorn and drinks will be provided, and the community is invited.
Thursday evening at 7 p.m. will be the music camp concert at Reservoir Park. Again, all are welcome. As a light refreshment, sliced watermelon will be served after the concert.
Although this talented Florida group will be leaving Friday, Emmanuel Baptist Church will still be here. The Church meets in the YMCA gymnasium Sunday mornings for worship at 10:30. Access to the gym is through the alley entrance. Pastor Chris Walls can answer any questions at 684-3882.