Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission teens in Monett
Teens, young adults and their adult supervisors from Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission (CTCYM) were busy this week in Monett performing a number of community service projects for those in need.
This is the second time in four years the group has traveled to Monett to give of their time, money and share their faith with others while working on projects that some area residents are too elderly or not financially able to accomplish themselves.
"Our group has about 100 youth and participants from Trinity United Methodist Church and St. Andrews United Methodist Church, both out of Arlington, Texas," said Christina Norris, one of the center directors. "We've split up into 10 work teams and hope to accomplish 20 to 25 projects by the end of the week."
Norris said everyone on mission paid a fee to cover their travel expenses, food, and supplies for the numerous projects lined up for the week.
Founded in 1994, CTCYM is comprised of about 300 churches whose members volunteer to spend a week of their time performing mission works in places like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri.
"I've been a member since 2003," Norris said. "We have about 15 living centers all over southwest Missouri, Arkansas, and these various churches join as one for the week."
Some projects include building wheelchair ramps, rebuilding porches, laying new flooring or tile, or doing yard work, if needed.
"These projects are for anyone in the community who is in need," Norris continued. "We have a group that handles construction referrals."
This week finds over 2,500 youth conference members spread out over the southern part of the United States doing projects similar to those being completed in Monett.
"We also have a group of junior high school members who only do missions in the state of Texas," Norris said.
Juliana Mitchell, a Trinity United Methodist Church member, has made three mission trips with CTCYM so far.
"It brings me joy to see the faces of these clients when we have completed a project," Mitchell said. "I love the fellowship, working and making new friends."
Mitchell plans to continue participating in the annual missions through high school and into college.
"I hope one day to be able to teach my own children the joys of missions," she said.
Mitchell's mother joined her on this trip, but they are working on separate teams.
"We split up best friends, boyfriends and girlfriends and siblings," Norris said. "That way, they each have their own mission experience. When they get back together in the evening, they can share with each other what each team did that day."
"Making new friends is the best part," Mitchell said. "My sister, Payton, can't wait to be old enough to join these mission trips. She's so excited."
Meagan Brown, a Trinity United Methodist Church member, is an old hand at performing mission work.
"This is my sixth trip with the group," she said. "I've helped build wheelchair ramps, with roofing, a deck, painting and yard work. Sometimes they let me play with the big tools."
Brown has traveled with the youth group to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri.
"Seeing clients being able to enjoy going outside after being stuck in their homes for so long means a lot to me," Brown said. "Taking part in these mission trips has taught me not to take the things we have for granted. Not everyone is as fortunate."
Brown's brother is also taking part in this trip to Monett, while her sister remains in Texas participating on a mission there.
"This is better than vacation," Brown said. "I plan to come back every year, even as an adult."
This is the first trip for Victor Resendez, a member of St. Andrews United Methodist Church, who is finding many aspects of the work enjoyable.
"I like it a lot, actually," Resendez said. "I like getting the work done and I'm learning about power tools and construction.
"I like hanging at the living center, making new friends and worshiping outside," he continued. "It's fun and we feel great about what we are accomplishing."
Resendez said he plans to make additional mission trips in the future.