FBC Strafford youth aid Mississippi project via World Changers
Gospel presented, 60 receive Christ
TUPELO, Miss. – Ten members from First Baptist Church, Strafford, joined more than 250 youth and their leaders June 10-17 for the World Changers national construction project here. By the time their work was finished, they had presented the gospel to 170 people and 60 responded by receiving Jesus as their personal savior.
This summer, more than 25,000 students from Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)-affiliated churches registered to participate in more than 100 World Changers projects around the world. World Changers is a Cooperative Program-supported endeavor sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the SBC.
The Strafford students gave up a week of their summer activities to serve as volunteers. They spent the week painting, roofing, caulking, scraping, cleaning and sheet rocking area homes. After completing their daytime tasks, the youth participated in worship, Bible study and activities designed to develop teamwork. The emphasis during the week of labor instilled both a work ethic and the compassion to help others while sharing the love of Christ, organizers said.
The Strafford youth from First Baptist included Erin Payne, Lynni Payne, Andrea Sleeth, Jenny Sleeth, Amanda Lile, Chandler Eden, and Jake Triplett. Gayle Bodenhamer, Bobby Eden and Trish Triplett went to World Changers as group leaders and worked alongside the students.
The Strafford group made the nine-hour drive to Tupelo after they were commissioned by their church. Their efforts were buoyed by prayers all week by First Strafford members left behind.
“I was a little worried and ho-hum about going,” said JakeTriplett. “I knew I was going to miss six baseball games and I just wasn’t sure about it, but by far it was the most fun I’ve ever had, I wish we could have stayed for two more weeks. I can’t wait to go again next year.”
As the church vans pulled out of Tupelo at week’s end, the youth saw signs standing in 28 lawns reporting that the labor was provided by World Changer volunteers. The week produced not only changed homes, but changed lives.
“I went addicted to World Changers, I brought back a group of nine others addicted as well,” Trish Triplett said. “Our youth are hard workers, we should be very proud of them. They did an amazing job of stepping out of their comfort zone and doing God’s work,” said Bodenhamer, the trip’s organizer.
“World Changers provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on missions experience and give back some what of what God has given to them,” said John Bailey, student volunteer mobilization manager. “This experience of servant hood is life changing.”
“Its easy to put your life on hold for a week and go somewhere else,” said Eden. “I pray it will not go back to business-as-usual for us. Our mission field is right here and I pray we will allow God to continue to work through us right here.”