Missional Grant Stories
Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Maryville, TN
Missional Grant Story
On July 8, 2012 we set out for our mission trip from Maryville, TN, to Big Creek in Leslie County, KY (one of the poorest counties in the country) with three adult chaperones and thirteen youth. For eleven of the students, this was their first mission trip. Every day at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. we spent time in worship and reading scripture, particularly focusing on 2 Timothy. The theme for this summer’s Bible study was “Grace Alone.” How blessed are we that our salvation depends on God’s grace and our faith, and not works. Nothing we did or will do can take that away from us!
During the day, we were split into groups made up of youth and adults from other churches that served either in a community capacity (visiting a veterans’ home, an adult daycare, painting, etc.) or in a children’s VBS/daycamp scattered throughout various towns surrounding Big Creek, some as far as an hour away. There was also a group that used their construction skills to repair roofs and flooring, but none of us wielded a hammer this time around! We had a student who played Bingo with a blind man. We had students who colored pictures and blew bubbles with children, played countless games of Elbow Tag with kids much younger and much older than themselves, and students who gave up their chips so the kids on the daycamp site could have them instead. We had students who read the Bible to elderly people and listened to the stories, testimonies, and prayers of veterans, disabled adults, and senior citizens. When it was abundantly clear that the children at the daycamp sites had heard the Bible stories and parables before, our students showed them the scriptures they had not heard and Bibles were given to kids who did not have any.
We had lunch at our sites daily which gave us the opportunity to break bread with those we were serving and just talk to them about our faith and ask them questions about their lives and what they believed. Our youth group also cleaned bathrooms and kept the area around the dumpsters neat for the week..talk about eye-opening and a lesson in humble service! Countless times during the week we were able to see, in big and little ways, how God provides. As Beth Anne, one of the site directors at Big Creek would say, “Look at God!” We know that for the week we were certainly the hands and feet of God in KY and now that we have arrived back in Maryville, our mission trip continues back home.
We are grateful to our church family at Cedar Grove Baptist Church and to the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Because of our church’s faithful financial support of youth missions and the “Look at God!” over-and-above additional donations, and because of the generous grant from the TCBF, we have been able to send the grant money BACK to Big Creek, KY, where it will continues to touch lives and lead people to what they need the most…a relationship with Jesus Christ.