Christian youth group travels to Natchez for mission trip
Published 12:06 am Tuesday, June 17, 2014
By Mary Kathryn Carpenter
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — Brenda Reynolds received a piece of good news Sunday when the Natchez resident was told the Central Texas Conference Youth Missions group would be installing a wheelchair ramp at her house this week.
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Reynolds is one of nine applicants currently receiving help around the house from the group of Texans that are spreading their volunteer efforts around the community.
“They are a great joy, because I really need the ramp,” Reynolds said.
She will be receiving surgery on her knees and will need the ramp to get in and out of her house on West Stiers Lane.
Eighty-two youth and adults have traveled to Natchez to do light to medium construction on at least nine homes around Natchez, said Linda Allen, volunteer and Living Center Director for the group.
Approximately 15 other towns throughout Mississippi are hosting similar groups this week.
The group rotates between Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Mississippi when choosing the location of their mission trips.
During the week, the youth and adults will split into nine small groups to tackle and complete at least nine projects.
“Some of the work we will be doing this week includes building or repairing wheelchair ramps, repairing a porch, and we have a paint job to do,” Allen said. “Our clients are either low-income or elderly homeowners.”
The group received about 40 applications and chose their clients based on need, the extensiveness of the project and the groups own skillset.
The group is made up of members of five different churches from around Texas and each volunteer pays their own way to go on the trip.
“Everyone made a sacrifice to come help these people,” Allen said.
Susan Clarke, 18, of Fort Worth, Texas, has always enjoyed going on the group’s annual mission trip.
“I remember we worked on a old couple’s home, and the man gave us lemonade and a book someone in his family had handwritten,” Clarke said, while taking a break from digging postholes for a wheelchair ramp. “It’s just that sort of thing that makes it not matter that you’re tired or homesick.”
Allen believes they are building more than just ramps when they visit clients in the area.
“We are not only here to fix houses,” Allen said. “We are here to build a relationship with the client.”
The youth do this by inviting the people they are helping to share lunch with them and participate in their lunchtime devotional.
The group will continue working on homes throughout the rest of the week in Natchez and depart Saturday.
They are staying at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church and using Trinity Episcopal Day School’s showering facilities.