Serving is the mission

by | July 19, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: July 18, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Savannah Bumpers and Allie Massey’s desire to make a difference sent them on the 545-mile journey from Leroy, Ala., to Walterboro last week.
The two young women, members of the Leroy Baptist Church, came to Colleton County to join the other 163 teenaged Mission Serve volunteers who spent the week working on home repair projects.
It was their second trip to Walterboro. Allie has participated in six Mission Serve events — last week was Savannah’s fifth.
Why the return visit?, Savannah replied, “Last year we came here and just fell in love with the place and decided to come back.”
Her top five reasons for participating in Mission Service:
• Spreading the word of God
• Spreading the love of god
• Being able to help People I need
• Meeting new People
• Creating new friendships
Allie offered her list would “pretty much be the same thing.”
She relishes “showing the love of God through our work and meeting all the people from different states.”
She enjoys the daily evening worship services with the rest of the Mission Service volunteers. “The preacher’s messages are so good.”
“I love working and helping people. It is just something that goes with my philosophy,” Allie added.
This year’s visit marked Allie’s second working on a roofing project; it was Savannah’s first time. Last year, her task was painting.
“I’m use to the heat,” Allie said. “After lunch, it gets hot, but I honestly think the humidity is less here than back home.”
The local organizers and adult volunteers strive to get the daily allotment of roof work done before the sun and temperatures climb too high.
Leroy, about an hour north of Mobile, is a small town. Allie said. “If you blink when you go through it, you pretty much miss it.”
The 165 teenage volunteers and their adult chaperones came to Colleton County from six churches like Leroy Baptist Church in Alabama.
The Rev. Scott Hanna, who serves as the project coordinator for the annual Mission Serve visit, said members from 18 local churches took on a multitude of tasks to make sure the volunteers’ visit was enjoyable. One of the major chores for the local volunteers, Hanna explained, was making sure the volunteers were well fed.
Hanna said that the teen volunteers were divided into 14 construction squads and deployed throughout the county to take on home repair projects. Tommy Murray was the local construction coordinator for the visit.
The squads worked on replacing roofs, building wheelchair ramps, exterior painting.
Coach Leroy Riley led a second community project and a team of volunteers who conducted bible study programs in the morning, then fanned in the community to take on lawn care work for residents unable to handle the yard chores themselves. Hanna said, “Everything went extremely well — the weather was amazing.”
Hanna pointed out the toughest part of roof work is the removal of the old shingles and tarpaper and the replacement of rotted wood on the roofs.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, when that work was being done, the area’s humidity was manageable.
That was especially helpful at one residence where, after the tarpaper and shingles were pried away, the workers found that a total of 22 sheets of plywood had to be replaced.
Every residence the volunteers work on houses a story. One of the most emotional stories this year, Hanna offered, was found at the home where a three-year-old boy was in need of a wheelchair ramp.

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