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Mt. Tabor Mission Team Help UC’s Mountain Outreach


Williamsburg, Ky. - Mountain Outreach (MO) is constantly on the move to serve and assist those in need no matter how far they have to travel to reach out to them. This past week at University of the Cumberlands (UC), MO was blessed to have a youth group from Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church Mission Team, Newberry County, South Carolina, to travel to Williamsburg to complete three awaiting projects.

Sandra Wessinger organized the mission trip after she found information about Mountain Outreach online and realized their young people could lend a helping hand. The group journeyed out to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck and helped with the aftermath clean-up. There, they gained experience in cleaning out, mudding, and rebuilding homes. This is the team’s fourth mission trip as a group and their first with Mountain Outreach. The group’s team is from several churches other than their home church, including Summer Memorial Lutheran Church, Restoration Outreach, and Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church.


The team provided several services to our locals in need. They went to two homes in Whitley County and painted the exterior for the residents. They also built a porch for a lady who was unable to do so and built two wheelchair ramps at homes where handicap accessibility was a necessity. This youth group and their leaders not only provided services to the people that were in dire need of assistance but they also set a fine example to other young people about how to show God’s love through kindness.

“It is hard work but it is going very well,” explained Mission Team member, Johnette Balentine. “We try to do mission work as much as possible but this is the first trip that my entire family has been able to take together. I had to take off work to come but it is like my vacation. It is great to help out when we can and it’s good for our kids to see that we spend our time and summer vacation helping others.”

The team spent a few days working on the porch they built and was shown much gratitude by the home owner, Ms. Cooper. She provided the entire team with a complete, warm meal two days in a row. “It’s the very least I could do for them,” said Ms. Cooper.

The younger kids took blankets and baskets of basic essentials such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, to Emergency Christian Ministries, the homeless shelter located in Williamsburg. They also stayed quite busy arranging bulk packages of laundry detergent to take to the shelters as well. Each family at the shelter received a pack of detergent that will last them and their families up to six months.

“They were kind of awestruck about some of the things they’ve seen,” said Sandra Wessinger. “They love the idea that they’re helping somebody. We have had a wonderful week!”

If it weren’t for the kindness and warm hearts of these missions’ teams and the call that God calls upon them to serve, these families would do without things they need. Mountain Outreach is always looking for ways to serve and share God’s grace as they reach out through mission’s projects.

“This is my first time doing mission work,” said youth member, Samantha Simmons. “It’s not too hard and it’s worth our time.”

University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach is a student-led building organization that has been nationally recognized for its work: The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty selected it as one of ten charities to receive the Samaritan Award; USA Today noted the program in its “Make a Difference Day” competition; President George H. Bush honored Mountain Outreach as his 220th Daily Point of Light; University of the Cumberlands is ranked as one of the top schools by Washington Monthly because of the service its students provide to the community; and the University continues to be placed on the President’s “Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll” in recognition of our students’ commitment to community service. This is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for dedication to community-based service projects.

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; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit