Thursday, July 03, 2014

Urban Youth Help West Get Back on it's Feet

“The best mission camp trip, EVER,” is how Jessica Morgan (15) described this year's summer youth trip to West, Texas.

Ten youth and two adults from Baptist Temple/Family Deaf Church/Betel family of churches took part in Texas Baptist's first student disaster recovery ministry, BOUNCE. This new, pre-packaged student mission experience provides youth the opportunity to assist communities in their efforts to BOUNCE back from the devastation that exists after disaster has struck.

In West, Texas a fertilizer plant explosion in April 2013, killed 15 people, including a dozen first responders, and injured 160. More than 1200 Baptists joined the army of volunteers who have converged upon this small town from the beginning. A year later, the cleanup phase is done and the rebuilding is underway.

The Baptist Temple team joined several other churches in a variety of projects. One group framed a new house, while another group finished a house framed last week. Others worked on repairs, roofing and other projects.

Days were filled with meaningful work and evenings featured times of worship and reflection designed to help participants encounter and respond to God. Brianna Haddock (17) said, "I can't believe I took part of such an amazing project. The work in one week is absolutely astounding! If you're wondering, God is good and West is blessed!"

Team sponsor, Steve Grinnell reports that the town's people expressed gratitude for the Bouncers presence. FBC West's pastor told the teams, "You are doing more than just painting a wall, you are restoring lives. You are demonstrating what real Christian love looks like."

Heather Fisher, also a team sponsor, said that the teens felt they were doing something worthwhile in helping West recover. Carmen Zayasbazan (15) suggested that we register for next year right away so we can reserve a spot.

In addition to West, BOUNCE will also go to flood damaged Austin and Moore, Oklahoma, where a tornado struck last year.

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