July 29, 2003
TRENTON – There’s something about seeing young people working in the heart of a small city that blesses that community, said Pastor Guy Thomas of First Baptist Church, Princeton, which is located about 15 miles from the Iowa state line.
The ministry of WorldChangers will be providing that presence July 19-26 in Princeton and Trenton. About 250 participants will converge on 20 homes in these communities to fix roofs, paint and do some light remodeling, said Gary Amos, a member of Russellville Baptist Church who is serving as construction coordinator.
Thomas plans to serve as one of 26 crew chiefs.
"I kind of like the way they help the community," he said. "They help people that wouldn’t have any opportunity to do it otherwise. It just opens the door to share Christ with them."
WorldChangers began in 1990 as an outreach of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). The goal is to get senior-high youth involved in hands-on missions. By focusing on small towns like Princeton and Trenton (where most of the work will take place), WorldChangers achieves its goal.
"We’re training the kids to do two things, evangelism and to help people by doing physical work," said Bill Call, a member of Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, and a four-year WorldChangers volunteer.
Another four-year volunteer from Concord, Wally Armstrong, agreed with Call’s description of it benefiting students physically as well as spiritually.
"It gives kids an opportunity to work, and I think too often we miss that anymore," Armstrong said.
Most of the work force consists of young people, Amos said, who are adopted by local churches and participate in evening worship times as part of the mission experience. But adult sponsors join right in, he noted.
"It’s changed adult lives," Amos said. "I know one guy went to WorldChangers and he’s a bivocational pastor now."
Hewitt Stroble, Concord associate pastor who died in a car accident last December, was instrumental in building the ministry throughout Missouri. Call got involved when Stroble recruited him.
"He could walk up to you and ask you to do something and you couldn’t say no," Call said. "He had a mission heart. I’m glad he got me involved in it. As long as I’m able, I’m going to be working with WorldChangers."
Call said one of the more beautiful aspects of WorldChangers is the effect it tends to have on the students.
"I have yet to see a kid come back without a positive attitude," he said.