Changing the world, a house at a time
June 22 2001 by Melissa Pendleton , BR Intern

Changing the world, a house at a time | Friday, June 22, 2001

Friday, June 22, 2001

Changing the world, a house at a time

By Melissa Pendleton BR Intern Matthew Pyle knows a changing world when he sees one. In south Raleigh last week, he saw hundreds of teenagers nailing shingles on roofs and painting houses. They worked around a chain link fence and a big, blue, industrial trash bin.

They heard a table saw whirring and muffled conversation.

And, of course, they felt June humidity common to North Carolina.

Pyle, from Missouri, spent the last three summers with World Changers, a student program sponsored by the North American Mission Board. The work meant so much to him that he joined the World Changer staff. This year he's helping oversee work in Raleigh, one of 85 World Changers' project sites this year.

About 390 student volunteers came to Raleigh to repair run-down residences June 9-16.

They came from all parts of the country. Some of them are even native to North Carolina.

North Carolina churches participating in the mission program are: North Side Baptist Church, Shelby; McKee Road Baptist Church, Charlotte; Iotla Baptist Church, Franklin; Covenant Baptist Church, Charlotte; Boger City Baptist Church, Lincolnton; and Bethlehem Baptist Church, Kings Mountain.

Long before the World Changers arrived in Raleigh, the citizens whom they will be helping were chosen. The City of Raleigh Community Development office gives World Changers its assignments. According to Pyle, many of the recipients are either elderly or disabled and unable to make repairs themselves. The city office matches the residents' needs with the skills of the World Changers. Then, 28 crews go to work.

A typical crew consists of 10-15 members. Each crew's members vary in age. Most of the high school students work on roofing, while the junior high students paint. This year, there is one junior high crew roofing.

With all of these young volunteers, adult support and supervision is necessary. There must be one adult volunteer to every five students. Most volunteer for a one-week commitment.

Many churches have fund-raisers or offer scholarships for the young mission workers. The World Changers at the Raleigh project slept, ate and worshipped at Wake Christian Academy.

Pyle said a typical day goes something like this: 7 a.m. volunteers report to the worksite. They break for lunch, which is hosted by members of the Raleigh Baptist Association.

After lunch, the crews continue working until around 3:30 p.m. Then the volunteers have until dinner at 6:00 p.m. to shower and rest. At 7:45 p.m. they attend a worship service. The youth meet with their church groups before going to bed at 10:30 p.m.

Pyle said he loves the program and what it does. "I love the change in my life and the change I see in the lives of others," he said. " I felt I needed to be helping in a different capacity.

"It's great to see 400 kids come in and give time, money, sweat and blood. They're excited about what they see God doing in the community."

To promote a sense of group identity and the spirit of teamwork, each crew has a name. The group "Clueless" put siding and new windows in William B. Hinton's home on Rock Quarry Road.

Hinton said that he's been looking forward to the project for "about a year." The young people knew exactly what to do, he said.

"They are nice people," he said. "You can't meet people any nicer."

Mark Anthony Porter, Hinton's grandson, was helping "Clueless" to repair his grandfather's home. The shy, quiet, 10 year-old-boy said it makes him feel "good" that people are helping his grandpa. Mark Anthony said he's going to help others when he gets older.

Lewis Rager, from Circle Wood Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., decided to help change the world with his oldest daughter, Kendall. He learned about the project from working with the youth in his church.

"The experience has opened my eyes to the needs of others and made me grateful for what I've got," he said.

Rager is also excited to see positive changes in his daughter.

Erika Kicklighter is a volunteer from Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights, Fla.

"This has been a humbling experience," she said.

Kicklighter is thankful for "the ability to serve God and help people out."

"It's good for the kids to see how the people (we help) live," she said.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Melissa Pendleton , BR Intern | with 0 comments
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