According to the New York Times, Clay County, Kentucky, ranks as the worst county in the country to live in due to the persistent poverty and hardships.* The needs there are greater than the needs in any other county in the United States. The Kentucky-Tennessee Youth Department, led by Greg Taylor, with Madison and Highland academies, led by chaplains Andrew Jamieson and Kaleigh Benge respectively, have a desire to serve that need.
A total of 75 students, teachers, and parents converged in Manchester, Ky., the heart of Clay County, September 21-24, 2016, to serve the community. The POWER Mission team refurbished and renovated five homes throughout the county. They built wheelchair ramps, repaired floors that had gaping holes, painted walls, installed doors, built porches, and fixed gutters and roofs, along with other various tasks and projects around the homes. The impact the students made on each of these homes was dramatic! However, that was not the most powerful or most impactful part of the trip. It was all about relationships!
Lots of hammering, sawing, and drilling took place on this trip to the Appalachian Mountains, but the real building took place in the hearts of the participants and the homeowners. On the first day, one of the residents became a grandmother. The team decided to purchase gifts and baby items for the family, and surprise them with the presents. At another project, George Moyo, a senior at Highland Academy, took time away from the physical building to build a relationship with one elderly resident by watching The Price is Right television show with him. These students understood that porches, ramps, and floors could be built, but what really mattered was building a loving relationship with the individuals they encountered. The love and time that was shared will last much longer than any structure that was erected.
Fortunately, sometimes the impact from previous years can be seen and felt. On the way to Manchester, a stop was made at Taco Bell in London, Ky. Christina Mercado, a senior at Madison Academy, began talking to the cashier about the trip. His eyes lit up when he realized this group built a wheelchair ramp for his grandmother a year earlier.
This ministry has been actively working in the Appalachian Region for 27 years, touching countless lives, and this year was no exception. It not only reaches the residents in Clay County, it blesses the participants as well!
Kentucky-Tennessee | November 2016