Every spring the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia sponsors about 4 different mission weekends at locations all over the state. This year, our youth attended the one located in Blacksburg, VA.
When we arrived on Friday evening we were greeted with the castle-like campus of Virginia Tech, which prompted many UVA inspired comments and discussions from the youth about what we would all be wearing tomorrow (i.e. a Cavalier shirt or something else that was specifically blue and orange instead of maroon and orange)! We made our way up the street to Blacksburg Baptist Church which sits directly across from the Tech campus in a very much the same way our own church sits in relation to the UVA campus. We stepped out of our cars and stretched before being welcomed and herded down into their fellowship hall to an outstanding dinner of burgers and hotdogs. Everyone from our group was really just excited to see that we wouldn’t be eating pizza and we quickly devoured our meals. The evening then moved into a time of worship and we gathered in the sanctuary for prayer and song. We were also excited to meet our work team members and get into our work groups for the next day.
Once our rooms at the Super 8 motel were sorted out, we all pretty much went to sleep, but since the first night in a hotel is always the roughest there were a few that ventured out early in the morning to track down a Starbucks. We traveled back to Blacksburg Baptist and heard a very moving story from Mark Snipes that provided some perspective for the day. One of the big take-aways from his sermon was that “it’s not about reaching down to help someone up to where you are, but recognizing that we are all equal in the eyes of God and it’s about meeting people where they are to be Christ to them when and where they need it.”
Our Youth were split up into 6 different groups and sent out to worksites all around the great Blacksburg and Christiansburg area. For most of the day our youth worked on the following projects:
- Wheelchair Ramp/Platform – An elderly woman had been “trapped” in her home for about 2 years and had no means to get outside her house without some serious assistance. She had paid someone else to build her a ramp about a year ago and while they delivered some materials to her yard, they never even started on the construction. Working alongside a “Hearts & Hammers” program we built a ramp from her side door down into her yard. Another group worked to dig out a reasonably sized hole so that a concrete pad could be poured that would allow another woman to easily access transportation at her home. They also did a large amount of cleaning and yard work.
- Retreat Center / Households – There is always much work to be done when any outdoor area is opened again in the spring, and our youth worked to paint and clean up a retreat center for the local community to use. There are also many people that need some assistance with painting, yard work, organizing, or general cleaning tasks around their homes and our youth were there to help them as well.
- Pregnancy Center – We sent a group to a Pregnancy counseling center where they did a lot of cleaning and organizing. They also helped in stuffing envelopes and assisting with the mailing of information and materials that will hopefully be helpful to women who are struggling with difficult decisions.
Our Saturday concluded with a very filling pasta dinner and another worship service. Once back at the hotel we all debriefed and shared our experiences from the day and then most of us went to bed…. J
Sunday morning we rolled out to our final service at Blacksburg Baptist, worshiped with their 8:30 morning service members and made our way back home. A very successful trip for all involved!
It is only through the continuing support of the members at UBC that these types of opportunities can be offered to our youth. Not only are they growing and moving along their own spiritual path but they are also positively affecting the lives of all the people they interact with along the way. Thank you for your support of the youth ministry!