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Trinity Northbrook Baptist Church builds homes and hope in Appalachia


Jalan Nored, member of Trinity Northbrook Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, works on a Mountain Outreach home in Whitley County, Ky. Nored and his 17-year-old twin sister, Jai’la, have volunteered for three years with the University of the Cumberlands’ ministry, building homes in Appalachia for those in need.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – “I got to use a nail gun yesterday, and that was fun,” 18-year-old Robin Riggs says, with delight in her eyes.

Riggs is part of a team of volunteers from Trinity Northbrook Baptist Church who are working with University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach (MO) to construct a brand-new home for an older working couple in need. The church, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, heard about the MO ministry three years ago from one of their church members, a University of the Cumberlands student and MO volunteer. Trinity has sent a team down to the hills of Appalachia for every summer since to assist in building homes.


Trinity Northbrook Baptist Church member Mike Weitz secures a window to a home that is being built in Whitley County, Ky. for an older working couple who are in need. The Trinity team members, from Cincinnati, Ohio, have assisted the University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach ministry for three years, building homes in Appalachia.

Although Riggs enjoys the construction, the real reason she came is clear: “It’s a way to serve the Lord.”

Her teammates share her feelings. “I’m here to work for the Lord,” said Caleb Jackson, echoed by Jai’la Nored, a 17-year-old girl who has volunteered all three years. “I’ve come to work for Jesus,” she said.

Jackson also enjoys meeting the people he builds the houses for. “People are very friendly here, very easy to talk to,” he says. “It’s great to get to know the people we’re building the house for.”

One team member, Joe Gammell, is an out-of-work chemist, yet the lack of job does not detract from his willingness to work and his constant smile. “I’m available and I’m healthy,” he says, explaining why he is happy to be doing construction work in the sweltering heat.

The team goes about their work joyfully, putting in windows, nailing electric wire to ceiling joists and installing a shower in the home, still just a frame building with a roof. Though the team is only in Whitley County for one week, their work will continue at home in Cincinnati. MO inspired Trinity church members to start a Helping Hands ministry, doing yard work and minor home repairs in their community.

“That’s great,” said Marc Hensley, MO director, when he heard about Trinity’s Helping Hands ministry. “Mountain Outreach has little fingers reaching all over the place.”

Mountain Outreach is a University of the Cumberlands ministry, with students and volunteers building more than 130 homes and making repairs and renovations to hundreds more for 27 years.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; nine graduate degrees, including two doctorates, a specialist, and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.