Mission Neighbor



Kayla Russell sits on the rooftop in an attempt to get the top of the shed her youth group was painting during their local mission trip last week.

Kayla Russell sits on the rooftop in an attempt to get the top of the shed her youth group was painting during their local mission trip last week.

of Jesus should “go and make disciples of all nations.” (NIV) But, that includes our own nation, and for the youth group at Grace Baptist Church in Snead, the go wasn’t far – it was in their own community.

“Every year we go with World Changers, but last year while on a mission trip in Kentucky, I felt God calling me to become local-mission minded,” said youth group leader Michele Thompson.“We believe God calls us all over the world, but God laid it on my heart to begin community change as well. I kept asking Him to show me what to do, and He kept speaking to me about bringing churches and the community together.”

Approximately 40 young people participated in the mission work completed last week.

Approximately 40 young people participated in the mission work completed last week.

Subsequently, after lots of prayer, Thompson talked to her youth group about focusing their annual mission trip on those who need help and ministry in their neighborhood.

The kids were on board, and then the work began.

“I started by mailing every church I could find in the yellow pages about helping in this effort,” Thompson says.“We had great response and churches including Mt. Pleasant, Bethel Baptist, Bible Way, New Home Missionary Baptist, Macedonia Baptist, Mountain Pointe Ministries, Snead Methodist, and New Emmaus Missionary Baptist responded and assisted us whether that be through manual labor, serving food or providing dinner and a worship service. We had help from the Marshall Baptist Association and Brother Bud Jones at the Hope House and also were assisted with materials by businesses in Snead and Oneonta.”

Jones was Thompson’s go-to on who to help within Blount County. Forty-nine workers, 40 of those being youth, served at five different locations throughout Blount County including Susan Moore schools, and residences in Snead, Susan Moore, Straight Mountain, and Walnut Grove.

“We painted bathrooms at Susan Moore, built a bedroom at Straight Mountain, provided gardening for the elderly, and built a wheelchair ramp,” Thompson says.“Teachers at the school were so proud to see the students helping the community, and we hope they now take more pride in their school through these experiences. People in the community just couldn’t believe we were taking the time to help them.

“One lady remarked she didn’t even know people did things like this any more. One person we helped wrote a letter telling us that she knew God had sent us to help her. The youth were humbled. Going out and helping those in their own community made them realize there are people in our own area with needs. Mission is needed everywhere, and we are Community Changers. God calls everybody everywhere, and one day we may go back to World Changers, but, for now, there are still two pages of names on the sheet Brother Bud gave us of those in need of help in our own county.”

The Holy Spirit remained present throughout the group’s work, and although they accomplished so much, Thompson says the most important accomplishment was the four lives that accepted Jesus as their Savior during the week.

“Doing work in the name of the Lord, while worshipping Him every night, and having continual devotions made the Holy Sprit present. You could feel it in the atmosphere,” she says.