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Source: Religion News Service – Ed Komenda

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The men burst into the church classroom and ordered the 15 teens in the youth group to the floor.

They covered the teens’ heads with pillowcases and bound their hands. One man waved an unloaded gun, and another yelled, his face daubed with camouflage paint.

The kids gathered at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church and had planned to partake in youth ministry activities at 7 p.m. Wednesday (March 21).

Instead, they found themselves face down, hugging the linoleum floor, said the Rev. John Lanza, who described what happened. If they listened, they wouldn’t get hurt, their assailants said.

It sounds terrifying, but there’s a catch: The raid was fake, staged to show the teens the perils faced by Christian missionaries in the world’s trouble spots, Lanza said.

Yet it traumatized one 14-year-old girl so badly that her mother filed a report with the police, claiming her daughter suffered a busted lip and bruised knees.

Neither the mother nor teen has been identified. Lanza did not wish to provide their names. Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. said police are questioning those involved to determine if charges are warranted. No charges have been filed.

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