Youth find mission field close to home


By Donna Thornton/News Editor

More than 40 young people worked in the Ohatchee-Southside area the week of July 8-12, weeding flower beds, building a walking trail, cleaning in and around schools and conducting cheerleading and football camps, as part of a Southside Baptist Church mission trip.

Their goal was two-fold: getting a lot of needed work done and showing people the way the Lord leads their lives.

“We may not have gone to the end of the world this week,” SBC Youth Minister Shane Carr said, “but we made great strides for the kingdom of God.”

The young people also had a lot of fun, spending each night at the church, sharing meals and lessons and time together, visiting the river, cooking out, and racing wheelbarrows down a hill. But the focus was on service and sharing the gospel.

At the beginning of the mission trip, Carr told the congregation at SBC the young people would be getting out into the local community.

“A lot of times we forget about the people in our own backyard,” Carr said. “The Bible tells us clearly that we’re not to just be hearer’s of the word, but to be doers also.”

Ohatchee is not too far from the backyard, and that’s where the group did some of its hardest labor in clearing a path and spreading 20 tons of gravel to make a 200 yard walkway leading to an outdoor classroom at Ohatchee Elementary School. They also cleaned out old school desks and furniture at the Ohatchee schools, and offered the cheerleading and football camps.

“I think we made an impact,” Hailey Myrick, who helped with cheerleading camp, among other tasks, said. “No matter how tired we were or how hot we got, everyone was committed to finishing the work.”

Back at the church, young people made 1,000 “salvation bracelets” for Carr to take on an upcoming mission trip to Nicaraugua.

Some members of the youth group went to Anniston to help hand out information about Vacation Bible School at a nearby church.

The experience of going door to door gave them the chance to witness to people.

“You think growing up in Southside that everyone loves God, but they don’t,” Ashton Mann said. “There’s a real need to share the gospel where ever you go.”

Several of the young people said most of the people they encountered were nice, but a few didn’t want to hear much about God.

“I wondered why (one person) closed the door,” Sophie Thornton said. “We weren’t selling anything.”

Carr said in working at the schools he talked to a woman who appreciated all the work the young people did, but she told him for every positive task accomplished, she could tell him about a negative interaction with representatives of a church.

He said that is one of the reasons reaching out of the community is so important – to counteract those negative experiences people may have had – and to plant positive seeds throughout the community.

“We did a lot of work,” Abby Thornton said. “but we didn’t do it to feel better about ourselves. We did it for the Lord.

“We may be the only Jesus some people ever see,” Abby said.

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