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07-06-2005


College Park Baptist Church Volunteers with Mountain Outreach

 


Every summer several churches devote time to building homes for underprivileged families. These volunteers consist of adults and youth that bond from numerous states throughout the country in order to help the construction ministry Mountain Outreach in Williamsburg Ky. College Park Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, NC, has been participating in these projects for nearly two decades and returns for another year of worship and ministry.

Roger Jones, group leader for College Park Baptist Church, provides insight on the experience, "Most of us don't know what it's like to sleep on a wet mattress, most of us have more than we'll ever need." Jones says the most important thing is what the group will gain from making a difference in someone's life. "If there is only one picture out of the hundreds made that will show the expression on the families' faces that we've helped, that will be worth it."

Jones has been traveling with the church on mission trips for years, despite the many health problems he has suffered, including a triple heart bypass and staff infection the year before. However, Jones says he chooses to continue with the missions as long as he can, "I have never had the thought that I wouldn't make it, I'm in a wheelchair, on a walker part of the time, but I'm gaining strength everyday." With a donation of a golf-cart to travel around the work-site and a small, air-conditioned building constructed by the church members to keep him out of the heat, Jones refuses to give up helping people, "I couldn't be up here if it weren't for people helping me, the whole time I'm planning and thinking that I'm going to be here."

Spending the week of July 4 - July 8, the group of 145 members, containing 40 youth, are completing their 25th house over a 17 year stretch. In response to the group's overall progress, Jones comments, "They're phenomenal, our young people, they do stuff nobody else wants to do." After returning home each summer, Jones reports that he has first time volunteers approaching him and thanking him for letting them have the opportunity to work on these homes, "We have people from all walks of life, professors, doctors, school teachers, people that pump your gas in your neighborhood, they're phenomenal."

The Mountain Outreach program started in 1982 when a local Cumberland student decided to show a friend through the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. The friend, who came from a middle-class family, was shocked to see the amount of poverty ans lack of running water, electricity and sanitation. Deciding that something needed to be done, the two students started helping others improve their living condition, which formed what we know now as Mountain Outreach.