By Gwen Sisson
Wil Bailey of First Baptist Church of Eupora said he was looking forward “to sharing the gospel with people who might not have ever heard about Jesus.”
Greer Blaylock of FBC Eupora said she expects the upcoming trip to Mission Arlington to be an important time for her personally, as well as for the youth group.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to be used by God to teach kids and spending some close time working with our youth group,” Blaylock said.
Kevin Barnette, youth minister for FBC Eupora, said the upcoming trip to Mission Arlington will be fun but it will also teach students how to serve.
“I think that our students will gain so much more and learn so much about themselves on this trip,” Barnette said. “We are challenging each of them with leadership roles that they have to fulfill. Each person is given responsibility and all of them seem to be taking it seriously. I can already see a fire in the students and we have only had one training session.”
Students at FBC Eupora will be serving at Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex in Arlington, Texas, the week of June 1-7.
Mission Arlington is “an evangelical ministry functioning in partnership with most of the local churches in Arlington from across all denominations, to begin Bible studies which over time grow into church in neighborhoods, mostly in low-income apartment communities throughout the city, and they also meet a variety of physical needs through free ‘benevolent’ programs like medical clinics, food pantries, afterschool tutoring and more.”
Students will be leading evangelistic programs in the apartment communities and other neighborhoods ministries and supporting the benevolence programs. Teams minister in more than 300 apartment complexes, mobile home parks, community centers, playgrounds, laundry rooms and wherever people will gather throughout Arlington. On any given Sunday, more than 5,000 people attend Mission Arlington congregations in their own neighborhood.
According to Mission Arlington, mission teams like the students at FBC Eupora will spend part of each day leading Backyard Bible Clubs, which is the equivalent of portable Vacation Bible School.
The remainder of the day will be day will involve the students in one of several work projects, which may include picking up donations, delivering furniture to families, working in the clothing room or the food warehouse, passing out flyers to invite people to an event, holding field days or other fun events in one of the apartment communities, or any number of other opportunities.
Barnette has made four special mission trips to help at Mission Arlington.
“My personal experience with Mission Arlington has been nothing but great,” Barnette said. “I learned a lot on how to reach people that live in apartment complexes and that sometimes all people need is a smile and for you to love them. I worked with kids for the majority of the times that I served there and you begin to see similarities in kids there and kids at home. You begin to challenge yourself to make a difference where you live. Mission Arlington does so much for their community and they are daily living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Barnette said he thinks that this is an important mission trip for the youth group because they have never experienced a trip quite like this. Traditionally, FBC Eupora students attend a weeklong youth camp during the summer months.
“We will be serving people instead of going to a youth camp where things are more geared toward what the students need,” Barnette said. “Don’t get me wrong, I think that there is a time for camps and that they are helpful but our students need to learn how to give back to the community. I think that it is much easier to serve somewhere else. You are put out of your comfort zone and it makes you take a step back and ask yourself ‘how can I do this at home?’”
Barnette said the best way the church and community can help with this project is by praying for each student and leader that is traveling to Arlington, Texas.
“We cannot thank God enough that we are even able to travel and to serve.” Barnette said. “Also, pray for the people that we will be making contact with that week. There are a lot of kids that we will be talking with and some of them have not heard the name of Jesus.”
For more information about Mission Arlington, go to http://www.missionarlington.org/. For more information about the ministries of FBC Eupora, go to http://www.fbceupora.com.