By Karen Vance
MILFORD - Army Ranger Kyle Smith believes in miracles.
Sunday, the Special Forces soldier who was seriously injured in Iraq will tell about his own miracle at a patriotic service at First Baptist Church of Milford.
Smith, 28 , was one of two soldiers injured in the April 3 suicide bombing of a checkpoint near a dam northwest of Baghdad. Three other coalition soldiers were killed as well as the driver of the car with the bomb and a pregnant passenger.
"It was really touch and go for a while. They didn't think (Smith) was going to make it," said Ruth Kelly, a church members.
Smith's wife, Cristina, grew up at the church and the members prayed for his well-being.
Connie Zeinner, Smith's mother-in-law and a member of the First Baptist Church, said Smith has told his story to several churches.
First Baptist Church, which has more than 1,500 members, has made the special patriotic service a regular Memorial Day weekend event.
A church picnic will follow the 10:05 a.m. service at the church, 1367 Woodville Pike in Miami Township.
The Gospel Grille , a 280-seat Christian entertainment restaurant, is hosting a grand opening celebration this weekend with a series of three free Christian music concerts.
"We wanted to make a place that could break down walls of segregation and racial barriers, and be a place of Christian love and harmony," said Kevin Ellerbee, founder of the restaurant.
Ellerbee, who also manages New Identity, a Cincinnati-based black gospel group, hopes the restaurant will serve as a way to highlight Christian acts.
The grill, 11473 Chester Road in Sharonville, will host El Trio De Hoy a contemporary Christian Latino group, at 8 and 10:30 p.m. on Friday. New Identity, a Cincinnati-based black gospel group, will perform at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m.
A nationally known group, Out of the Grey, will perform at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. Several local artists will perform Sunday.
The restaurant has been receiving reservations for the concerts, and Ellerbee is optimistic about the success of the grill.
After opening weekend, the full-service menu restaurant, will have live Christian entertainment, including local Gospel artists, comedians and a live audience participation game show.
The grill plans to be open from 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and a family style buffet from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. For information or reservations, call 772-2249.
Belarus group visits
The New Jerusalem Band from Minsk, Belarus, will perform Messianic Jewish Russian songs at Trinity Christian Fellowship on June 1 at 9:30 a.m. The group, which won the Best Song of the Year Award from the Belorussian Music Awards in 1997, performs a selection of rock, rap and pop.
Trinity is located at 3730 Cobb Road between Williamsburg and Mount Orab. For more information, call 724-7729.
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