By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Saturday, August 3, in the wee hours of the morning, 65 students and chaperones loaded a bus in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, on the outskirts of Kansas City. The students, incoming seniors from Summit Christian Academy, were headed to Gadsden to do a yearly mission with Breakaway Ministries led by Eddie Nichols.
“We had the blessed opportunity to hear about Eddie through Verick Burchfield,” said principal Joe Hesman.
Burchfield and his wife, a Southside native, knew Nichols and Breakaway Ministries and suggested the location of Gadsden.
“Their daughter is a senior,” said Hesman. “They brought to our attention about going to Gadsden. As we were looking for places, God put Verick in connection with me and got Eddie and I connected.”
As the planning for the trip commenced, Hesman felt like Gadsden was the place the group was called to visit.
“God made it very clear that Gadsden is where we needed to be,” said Hesman.
The group arrived in Gadsden on Saturday night, where they were able to stay in the gym of the First Baptist Church of Southside. On Sunday, the group got to work helping with the Megan Kelley Dream Center’s Back-to-School Bash, where students were able to play on inflatables and receive haircuts. Nichols said that during the two-hour event, about 70 haircuts were given.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wed\nesday, the students split into groups. Some students remained at the Dream Center, painting and cleaning the facility located across from George W. Floyd Elementary School. Other groups traveled to Colley Homes, Carver Village and Johnson’s Apartments, where they held Backyard Bible Clubs for area youth.
“The first day we were at the housing authorities, we had 72 kids that showed up between the three of them,” said Nichols.
Other students traveled to three homes in Gadsden that needed to be painted or cleaned.
“We’ve got eight projects we are working on,” said Nichols.
Breakaway Ministries has been bringing mission groups to Gadsden for about six years.
Nichols hopes that the mission groups will inspire the locals to take a look around and see what they can do to improve their own communities.