Faith & Family: Youth fellowship giving back to communityPublished 12:10am Saturday, July 6, 2013
NATCHEZ — The Jefferson Street United Methodist Youth Fellowship completed its annual Mission-fest this summer in hopes of helping the community out in any way possible.
Teenagers spent six days of the week of June 23 working on various mission projects for individuals and charities.
Youth coordinator John Hudson said the Mission-fest has been going on for at least 20 years.
“In our youth fellowship, we like to focus on worship, discipleship, fellowship and missions,” Hudson said. “Doing things for others is where Christ says he needs us.”
On Monday, the group started the week working at Habitat for Humanity preparing the lot for another new home.
The group also collected food for the Natchez Stewpot, worked at the Natchez City Cemetery and spent part of four days at Watkins Street Cemetery.
“We used tree trimmers and trimmed all of the branches on every tree at the city cemetery,” Hudson said. “Now it has a more park-like feel so people won’t have to duck and dodge tree limbs.”
The group also built two wheelchair ramps for disabled residents in Adams County. Approximately 38 youth and adults participated during the event.
Youth member James Cooley said this was his second year with the Mission-fest, and he was more than happy to help out in his community, and the work he has done to help others inspires him to continue to help.
“It touches my heart because I got to help a lady who could barely get in and out of her house, but since we made the ramps she was able to move quicker,” Cooley said.
Hudson said he thought he would have a problem getting so many children to work in the heat during the summer, but they learned about selflessness instead.
“If their parents told them to work in their yard for two hours in the heat, they (wouldn’t have wanted to do it). But doing it for someone else is different,” Hudson said.
Cooley said last year, he never thought he would enjoy Mission-fest, but the experience changed his mind.
“I love helping people. I want to be apart of everything the youth group does,” Cooley said.
Hudson said he thinks the youth received a better understanding of what Jesus wants from them.
“I think Christ was telling us to go beside ourselves and find the real meaning of life when we spread love to others,” Hudson said.
Cooley said he learned that even the small things could go a long way to help somebody else’s life.
Mary Evans Kelley completed her second year of Mission-fest and said she is ready to participate in the next mission — the D.C.-Myrtle Beach trip.
The Youth Fellowship will depart for Washington, D.C., on July 17 and spend the first four days exploring the city.
“The last few days we’ll do missions all throughout Myrtle Beach,” Kelley said. “We’ll help out at a local stewpot, help build homes or even clean up the beach.”
Kelley said the missions the group participates in helps to strengthen the youth’s relationships with God.
“It brings us a lot closer to God. We pray before we get started, and we just think about how we’re helping these people and how we’re doing God’s work.”