Baptist youth effort floods Port Arthur with help

first_img Scott said 500 volunteers were in Houston during spring break. They’ll return to Houston, then spend a week in Victoria and a week in Corpus Christi/Rockport.BOUNCE does the planning and organizational work, Baptist churches from around the state supply the labor force. Nederland First Baptist is housing and feeding the volunteers.“We hope to complete what we can in a week’s time,” said Mason, standing in the front yard of a Port Arthur home near the seawall. Seven different churches — six from Texas, one from Georgia — are among those providing labor.Volunteers arrive with various levels of skills, but are trained by veteran construction crew leaders. Some have volunteered before, some are “newbies,” Scott said. Spokeswoman Cherish Mason said 97 student volunteers have fanned out across the community, working at sites identified by local partners. Including their adult leaders, some 130 people will work at the sites through Saturday.“We are mobilizing students who have a desire to help,” said Mason. All volunteers pay their own way.David Scott, director of disaster recovery for the Baptist organization BOUNCE, said the organization, launched in 2013, oftentimes goes out of state to help. Projects planned out of state this year were shelved in favor of helping fellow Texans who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey. “One girl took 10 minutes to get up the ladder and on the roof,” he said, but workers are assigned to age- and skill-appropriate tasks and they learn as they go under supervision.“We encourage them along, and stress to them to try to do something they’ve never done before,” Scott said.In Port Acres, seven students, primarily middle-schoolers, worked under the direction of Rick Robbins, a retired high school track coach.“We’ve got a great group of guys and girls here,” he said, as he directed his crew in drywall and sheetrock work in a four-bedroom home unoccupied since Harvey. The owners are staying with friends. Some of the volunteers were from Houston, some from Longview.“None of us has a lot of experience, myself included,” he said. He’d done roof work on a previous BOUNCE trip.“I thought it was a great opportunities to tell others about God and learn the homeowners’ stories,” said Nadia Torres, 13, of Grace Temple Baptist in Dallas.Mason said there is evening worship and teaching time in the evenings.The mission of BOUNCE, she said, is to restore hope, rebuild communities and reflect Christ. In short, they help those short on hope to bounce back from disaster.“We understand ourselves that we were needy, dead in our sins, and when we were needy, Christ provided for us,” Mason said.BOUNCE was created with the idea that students want to help and should be afforded the opportunity to do so. Although it is a ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, it works with evangelical groups and with those from other states, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia.They also work with partnering organizations. In this community, those include Help I’m Hurting, Shalom Builders, First Baptist Church in Nederland and Waco Community Development.center_img By Ken [email protected] ACRES — A student disaster recovery program, sponsored by Texas Baptists, is sending help to 11 Greater Port Arthur and Nederland work sites this week. The students — middle school through college — are doing roofing, plumbing, sheet rock and electrical work under the direction of skilled adults.last_img

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