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BCM students trek to West Virginia
|BPC students Joannie Morgan and Jamie Meador, both juniors, put up border in a West Virginia Senior Center.
By Hayley Boisseau
BPC News and Public Information staff writer
MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s winter missions trip by the campus’ Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) was a blessing – not only for the people the students set out to serve, but for the students themselves.
On the morning of Dec. 31, 2006, 18 students from BPC’s BCM and campus minister Glenn Wallace gathered at Brewton-Parker to take a bus to West Virginia on a mission to share Christ’s love. It was soon discovered, however, that the bus was not working and thus unavailable for use.
|Ryan McWhorter and Rebecca Brady play for the Wednesday night worship service at Canaan Baptist Church, W. Va. (Photos by Hayley Boisseau)
Not wanting a damper on the trip, the students quickly decided who would drive their own personal vehicles 13 hours to reach the community God was leading them to. On the first leg of the drive, the student caravan made it to a town three hours from their destination where they were welcomed to stay overnight at a church, which opened its doors to the group.
The next morning the BPC caravan began the rest of their journey. Shortly into the drive, the leading car was in an accident. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries; however, they were now one vehicle short.
A nearby church heard of the problem and provided food, showers and a place to stay while the group’s sponsoring missionary, Mark Joseph from West Virginia Mountain Ministries, could come get them. The students arrived safely at Canaan Valley Baptist Church – one day later than expected – where they were housed in various rooms and fellowship hall through Jan. 7.
What seemed to be a rough start did not thwart the students’ efforts or effectiveness in the community surrounding Canaan Valley, W. Va., said Wallace.
|Brooke Cheek cleans out a pantry in one of the homes the BPC students served while on the winter BCM mission trip to West Virginia over winter break.
“I was so proud how the students came together as a single unit, in spite of a seeming tragedy, and worked through the week. Our diverse group came together quicker than any group I’ve seen. They bonded together and stayed focus on the mission before them. I feel so blessed to have been able to be with the group.”
The students completed several cleaning projects while in West Virginia, including cleaning out an attic of an elderly lady’s house. Her collections had accumulated from auctions and family memorabilia. The woman, who was also taking care of her ill son, was physically unable to go through her attic and BCM was able to provide that help.
“I was so thrilled about their willingness and positive attitudes,” said Wallace.
“Despite some hard circumstances, God was still able to work through us. His strength and glory was shown throughout the week,” said Erin Bower, a senior studying early childhood education. “This was definitely a learning experience for me. I never realized that people actually lived in such despairing situations. I felt so honored to be used by God in this capacity.”
Through Mark Joseph and the West Virginia Mountain Ministries, the students were able to create a fenced-in play area for one couple’s dogs, clean up the yard, and clean out the house of trash and unusable items. The couple faces several financial and physical hardships and limitations. As part of their service, the students made large strides in providing better living conditions for this couple and their dogs.
One of the less physically demanding but just as important jobs was accomplished by a few of the BCM ladies. One of the senior centers in the area requested a new wallpaper border be hung in its dining hall and hallway, which brought a broad smile to the manager’s face when it was complete.
“I have never hung a border before,” said Joannie Morgan, a junior in the Religion and Philosophy division. “What appeared to be a monstrous task, when finished was quite beautiful. The seniors will be able to appreciate it for years to come.”
“On this trip I learned that in similarity to not being able to imagine our group of amateurs ever completing these rooms, that God works wonders in our lives even when we are unable to imagine the big picture of what is to come,” she continued. “This trip was special to me because God gave me a renewed hope and strength to keep pressing on in His will for my life.”
A couple BCM juniors spent an afternoon at an elderly widow’s home who had just returned home from a hospital stay. The young ladies were able to provide much-desired company and fellowship for this lady. They also served her by performing a few routine household chores. She showed her gratefulness by praying aloud where they could hear her, asking God to bless them for their kindness and selfless efforts.
Several BCM guys built a porch for another lady in the community whose other porch had fallen. The replacement allows her to enter and exit her home more comfortably and safely. These young men also built a bridge for another physically-limited resident, allowing her to pass over a small creek, and provide easier access to her home and the outside world.
|Freshmen Stephen Moye (from left) and Rebecca Brady and junior Jamie Meador are ready to ski on the slopes of West Virginia during some downtime on their last day of the winter BCM mission trip.
“Doing construction was new for me, but I was honored to be there and take part in this mission effort,” said Stephen Moye, a freshman who is studying Christianity. “It was nice to build something we knew was going to last – not only a bridge and porch, but also relationships with the missionary and community.”
While all these projects were underway, the students affected by the earlier car accident were unsure as to how they were getting home, as they were without a working vehicle. Wallace and the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) worked on options collaboratively throughout the week. The students didn’t lose faith or allow the uncertainty to distract them from their purpose, though. Their collaborative prayers were answered when Wallace’s wife, Debbie, was approved by the GBC to rent a minivan and drive to West Virginia. Debbie Wallace and student Miriam Grimes “rescued” these faithful students.
BCM’s final day was filled with visiting and serving at local ski resorts. The students distributed welcome packets to guests with information about the resort, West Virginia Mountain Ministries, and a few thoughtful items to enhance their visit, such as Chap Stick and lotion.
“I really enjoyed passing them out because it was a chance to help the relationships that the missionary is developing there. It was great to work alongside (Joseph) and be a part of this ministry,” says junior Jamie Meador, who has been on several missions trips and is part of the BCM leadership team.
Students also assisted with publicity to local media connections on behalf of the resort, while others prepared and served food in the dining area of the resort. To conclude the week, and in appreciation of the students’ aid, the owner of one resort allowed students to enjoy the slopes at no cost before returning to South Georgia.
Students participating were seniors Erin Bower, Jeff Tinsley, Joey Tomazin; juniors Cole Morris, Crissy Reill, Hayley Boisseau, Jamie Meador, Joannie Morgan, Michael Crosby, Steven Dresen, Tim Hegerich; sophomores Jessica Groover, Ryan McWhorter, and Freshmen Brooke Cheek, Kolby DePratter, Michael Baskin, Rebecca Brady and Stephen Moye.