Shaw, Mississippi is hot, but even afternoons gardening and playing kickball in this heat wasn’t enough preparation for the heat of Houston, Texas. We recently had the blessed opportunity to spend a week of mission work partnering with Emmanuel Baptist Church from Alexandria, Louisiana, and South Main Baptist Church in Houston. Earlier this summer South Main came to Shaw to volunteer their time with us, and it was our turn to give back.
Throughout the year our Youth Leaders volunteer their time in Shaw, and work diligently to better themselves and serve their community. We arrived at our center at 6:30 am, bright eyed and ready to go. What was supposed to be an eight hour drive ended up being eleven hours through backgrounds and singing loudly to songs as we anticipated a long and exciting week. We were met eagerly by the youth group from both churches, and immediately we knew it was going to be an incredible week.
Throughout the week we worked on different mission projects including, Feeding the Hungry, working in a community garden, helping with a home that was affected by Hurricane Harvey and even assisting with a community concert in the 5th Ward. We also heard from members of South Main Baptist that were affected by the hurricane, and the aftermath of natural disasters. During our free time we played games, worshipped, and built relationships. On our free day we visited NASA, the Holocaust museum, and even took a trip to Galveston where we rode on a ferry and swam at the beach! It was a rewarding trip, we gave back to a community that needed it, and built new relationships while also strengthening our existing ones. Here are a few testimonies from our youth, and what they learned from the trip.
Nathan Watts: “I didn't know what to expect when I arrived in Houston. But as the days passed, I didn't want to leave. I've met some amazing people from Houston and Louisiana. We've worked hard, played hard, and prayed hard. It was an amazing experience helping those in need with people that are your friends. It's an experience I hope to see again one day.”
Sha’Niya Bryant: “It was a great pleasure for me being able to SERVE & RELIEVE people back in Houston. Although it came with many challenges we still managed to make it through!! I got a chance to FTH (Feed The Hungry), visit NASA, help out in gardens & many more. I met a lot of people & became close with them also over the week. First Mission Trip, Many More To Come!”
Japhabian White: “I experienced a lot of different things and people that I never knew. I also experienced some of different places we went to and some of the fun games we played. And last I experienced the work we will had to complete in the hot heat. I really enjoyed myself in Houston!”
Tyler Feltson: “My experience in Houston was AWESOME! I’ve met so many hard working, wonderful, and graceful people from Louisiana. We dug up dirt together, we visited NASA together, we taught each other how to play different games, we learned about the Bible together, and the most amazing thing was that we stayed together. Now, I know I’m getting off topic, but 50+ years ago we wouldn’t be able to do all those great things together. I’m just so thankful that I was able to meet those people.”
Ambrysha Townes: “First off I would like to thank everyone for making our mission trip to Houston Texas a great success!! I experience some great things!! I love how in just one week that us and Emmanuel Baptist Church came together and united as if we have known each other for so long. Something that I did which I had never done before was that I fed the hungry and the experience with that was almost emotional because of how they was smiling and showing that they greatly appreciate me for coming to there community and helping out. This mission trip was truly a blessing for me and for others!!”
Makala Washington: “To the school thanks for letting us work on bringing things back in the school after the flood it felt very heart warming for a little group like us to work with you guys. Thanks so much.”
Jakieus Phillips: “I had a lot of fun in Texas. The group from Louisiana really touched my heart. All three ministers told me I had a light inside of me that shines bright and that really made me feel special. I saw a lot good and bad things in Texas and it was a very humbling and exciting trip and I loved it.”
Roderious Phillips: “Houston was fun. I got a chance to meet new people and make friends. I got a chance to see the damage that hurricane Harvey did. When you are actually there and not just seeing it on news is tough. I was just happy to put a smile on some of the victims of Hurricane Harvey.”
Jacorius Nailer: “I had a great time in Texas. I got a chance to make new friends and meet a group from Louisiana. It was tough for me in Texas because I saw many people that lost a lot of their homes and things to Hurricane Harvey. That’s why my mission was to help the people of Texas out and put a bright smile back on their face. It also showed me to be grateful for what you have.”
Trinity McDaniel: "My trip to Houston was amazing!! I did a variety of things. For example, I fed the hungry, pressure washed houses, painted bricks in a garden, made new friends, and much more! I really wasn't ready to come home, the trip was beyond everything I expected! Honestly, I can't wait until next year for our next mission trip. I'm hoping that it will be as spectacular as this year's trip!! :) "
Keon Rice: " The week I spent in Houston was beyond wonderful. I'm very thankful for the Houston group for showing us a good time. Being in Houston showed me many aspects of life. It also showed me that you should be grateful for the things you have."
Brittany Rodgers: "My Houston trip was exciting. I got to help feed the hungry and help the people from Hurricane Harvey. Even though I was shy, I came out of my shell and got to talk to people."
Tamyra King: "Houston was pretty fun! The most part I liked was pressure washing the house. Feeding the hungry was pretty overwhelming for me. The activities they had for us after working in fifth ward was pretty awesome! Overall, I had an incredible time and I experienced a lot of great things!"