By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
GLEN BURNIE, Md.—North Glen Church sent 15 mission newbies to the Appalachia last summer and came back so excited they went back at Christmas and now they’re preparing for another trip this summer.
Last July, the team filled two trailers with food, clothing, over 140 backpacks filled with school supplies, cleaning materials and other household items. They traveled for over ten hours to deliver the items to a God’s Helping Hands, local mission, and distributed them to the needy in Garrett, Ky. They also led a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the local children.
“We had a VBS and had four youth come to Christ while we were there. Some of the children didn’t know about Jesus in the beginning. Seeing all those kids singing about Him through the week was quite an experience for every single one of us,” A.J. Ballantine, trip coordinator said.
“None of us had ever been on a mission trip before. Our team was blown away. Seeing how God worked up until the day we left was a huge faith builder.
The team returned so excited that they wanted to return for Christmas. North Glen church members sponsored 75 children, buying clothing and toys for each one. The mission team once again loaded trucks and made the long cold trek back up the mountains with bulging bags of gifts and threw a huge Christmas party.
“They have been such a great, great help,” said Melissa Gibson, director of God’s Helping Hands.
Ballantine said one mother told him that knowing her girls were going to get the gifts made Christmas so much easier for her and that she knew the church’s giving was making an impact on her children.
“She said for her girls to see people who don’t know them buying them Christmas gifs because Jesus loves them is the best thing we could have given them,” Ballantine said.
The team will go back in July. They’ll work with a WMU group from South Carolina. The WMU team will teach VBS while North Glen members begin meeting people on a more personal level by doing some home repair work—fixing roofs, porches and steps and doing some minor plumbing work for some elderly and widowed people. The team will also aid the WMU as needed.
Ballantine said the team has been working on relationship building. As members provide food and personalized ministry, they plan to share Christ as the Holy Spirit prompts.
A.J. Ballantine said North Glen welcomes other churches to partner with them with their mission to Appalachia. Contact Ballantine at (410) 336-7011.