volunteers in the news
‘Laid-back version of evangelism’
By JEFF WINDMUELLER Independent Record | Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:06 am
Over the next week, Helenans might be seeing the soft blue T-shirts of teenagers helping out some of the local nonprofit organizations. Tenth-graders with the Kingsland Baptist Church of Katy, Texas, are in town as part of a mission trip to the Capital City, helping with places like Montana Youth Homes, Florence Crittenton and Farm in the Dell.
The group is working in coordination with the Big Sky Fellowship Church, whose pastor, Dan Clark, and his wife, Sharon, moved to Helena from Katy two years ago.
“We’re doing whatever the boys here say would be helpful,” said Joel Anthis, a surgeon who joined his son, Austin, on the trip. “They’ll keep finding us things to do.”
By Monday afternoon, the handful of volunteers had already pulled weeds and repainted a wood deck in the back of the Montana Youth Home. The group had moved on to popping off the bedroom doors in the building, sanding them and giving them a bright new finish while getting to know some of the teenage residents at the home.
“I think it’s really cool that complete strangers can bond,” said Jake Gries, one of the volunteers from Texas.
Gries sees the trip as a calling. He figures if God can go out of His way to love all of creation, then people can show that same love by helping each other without asking anything in return.
“It’s just an easy way of showing God’s love without being a Bible thumper,” he said. “It’s a laid-back version of evangelism.”
In this case, laid-back means working under the hot sun and rebuilding stone walls like the one that was crumbling in the back yard of the home. With their hands stained with gray mortar, the group was pushing stones back into holes that had formed over time.
It’s hard work, but also rewarding.
Alyssa Hays, a volunteer who spent a week last summer building churches and working with young children in Kansas City, Mo., knows this trip will be a little different, but she’s already enjoying the surroundings.
“It’s only the first day, just getting to Montana and the beauty of it is ... it’s really nice to look at the landscape that God created,” she said.
Anthis said he hopes others recognize the good deeds and will be influenced to making their lives about helping others. For the time being, their work has influenced some of the boys at the youth home to work on their own living conditions.
“I’m happy to help out,” said one as he chipped away at the drying mortar on his hands. “It’s kind of going from all crappy to all nice.”
Jeff Windmueller: 447-4005 or email@example.com
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