Students Making a Difference

Staff writer: Mayson Cambron

All too often people look down on teens in today’s world, saying they are irresponsible, entitled and selfish. This is not the case. While there may be a couple bad apples, there is still an abundance of kind, servant-hearted teenagers in the world today.

In September of 2018, a movement took place within the youth ministry at First Baptist Church of Woodstock to encourage students to get out into the world and make it a better place, offering them opportunities to spend their Spring Break serving others.

During the first week of April, FBCW launched high school teams into Southeast Asia, Portugal, Canada and to West Virginia.

Each trip was incredibly unique and sought to love on a different culture, language and region of the world. Students prayed and considered which region of the world God was calling them to go and serve, and they put their “yes” on the table and had their lives changed, even though they intended to go and change the lives of others.

The goal of the mission trip to Portugal was to go and share the good news of Jesus with the local people, as well as to help with various service projects at Igreja Baptista Ramada and Palavra da Vida.

Portugal goplay+

Portugal team doing team bonding games with kids in Ericeira. Photo courtesy of Mark Cambron

During the work days at Ramada church, the team spent their time cleaning, organizing an old shed, picking weeds, and trimming overgrown plants. There was a great need for all of this work to be done, but a lack of time and hands to do so, and the FBCWHS students were eager to serve.

Senior Taylor Bramblett shared, “Serving at Ramada made me realize how much one day of putting aside our lives for another person or community can impact them.”

This was Bramblett’s first mission trip, and she isn’t afraid to tell anyone about how it changed her life. “It opened my eyes to see spreading Jesus’s light can be done in so many different ways.”

Portugal (Ramada)

Portugal team working to trim the trees that grew through the fence at Ramada Church. Photo courtesy of Robin McWhirter

The mission trip to Huntington, WV, was to go and be a source of love, encouragement and a set of hands to help in any way that this broken and town needed. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the United States, with a staggering 57.8 percent death rate from those overdoses. That number alone shows the need for a period of relief, for a bit of light. Throughout the week, the team spent time prayer walking and encouraging the people that lived there.

Most of the trip was dedicated to spending time with a ministry called Rebuild. This ministry is run out of a home in a poor neighborhood full of hurting people.

WV

2019 West Virginia team outside of Rebuild Ministry. Photo courtesy of Joey Martindale

Paul and Rene, a couple involved with the movement in Huntington spent some time with the 2018 team, and sophomore Joey Martindale was so excited to go back and get to know them better this year.

“I was having a conversation with Rene and she said, ‘without God in our lives, we wouldn’t be here.’ And that really spoke to me because they have so much faith in God.” Martindale would agree that even though the students set out to encourage others, they were greatly encouraged themselves.

“This year was a lot different from last year because last year we really grew as a missions team and became a family, but this year we really connected more with the people of WV and made personal friendships with them,” commented Martindale.

A little further north, Toronto, Canada, has a large population of homeless people with almost 10,000 just within the city. For this reason, the FBCWHS Canada team set out to go and love on these people. The group spent their week chatting with, feeding, and just investing in the homeless people. They partnered with St. Francis Table, a restaurant that works with volunteers to provide warm meals for homeless people at an extremely cheap price.

Canada St Francis Table

Canada students helping prepare meals for homeless at St. Francis Table. Photo courtesy of Gray Cambron

Sophomore Gray Cambron took a step out of his comfort zone and spent his week with the Canada team. When asked about his favorite part of the trip, he said, “I’d probably say the best part of the trip would be the friendships you make while you’re there. Friendships made from serving the Lord are unlike any other.”

Cambron and many other students would agree, that getting way outside of comfort zones and opening up to care for others bonds people with deep friendships that will last a lifetime.

Canada Frontstreet boys

Canada team having fun during their day of ministry on the streets, capturing this “edgy album cover.” Photo courtesy of Gray Cambron

The First Baptist youth ministry also sent a team to Southeast Asia with the sole purpose of sharing the gospel with people who have never heard the name of Jesus before. For the sake of protecting their field partners and the work going on there, more details cannot be shared.

Each of these trips has made an eternal impact not only on those being served but also on those who were serving. There is something about leaving one’s home, leaving friends, comfort and distractions behind, losing phone service for a week, and pressing into the work God wants to do that changes lives. Students found that at the end of the day, focusing on people is of much greater value than social media status.

“I really believe more students should go on mission because of how eye opening the whole experience was, from seeing people struggling with drug addictions to seeing people in recovery with such strong faith was just all around an eye opening experience,” shared Martindale.

There are a thousand and one ways for students to get involved, whether it be international trips or within the local community. FBCWHS’s new mission trips for 2020 will be announced this coming fall, and everyone is encouraged to consider joining a team.

Statistics pulled from CDC.gov and FredVictor.org

Each team made a recap video to provide a glimpse into their week:

Portugal: https://youtu.be/O4jfj7HFpbw

West Virginia: https://youtu.be/53k3dCgUJB0

Canada: https://youtu.be/Sn_gF5C__xo

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