By JOE JAROSZ
March 19, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Most teenagers and young adults spend their spring break having fun, either at a beach or an exotic location, to emphasize on the “break.”
But some use their break to help others and do good for a community. Even if that community is over 500 miles away from home.
On Sunday, March 9, about 30 teenagers from the Mansfield Bible Church, in Mansfield, Texas, arrived in Kansas City, Mo., for a week of ministry. The group stayed until Friday, March 14, and worked with Christ for the City International, a faith-based organization that does community work. Throughout the week, the teenagers who ranged in age from 13 – 18 years old, participated in “gospel-centered” social work, including community cleanings and feeding the homeless.
Every year, the church’s youth group spends its spring break doing community service projects, rotating locations every three years between work in Texas, out-of-state and out-of-country. Kansas City was selected because the group’s leader, Rev. Lucas Randall, is originally from the Kansas City area.
Aiden Owens, 16, said he’s been participating in the service trips since he was in seventh grade. For most of the trip, he said he’s been painting and going on prayer walks, a 20-30 minute walk cleaning along Independence Avenue as well as stopping and talking to people on the street. He said people’s eyes light up when they hear the group is from Texas.
“The goal [of the trip] is to make an impact with the homeless community,” Owens said, adding the group stayed at Hope Faith Ministries, 705 Virginia Ave., an area homeless shelter.
Dayton Beal, 16, said during the week, the group typically woke up around 5:30 a.m. to help prepare breakfast for the shelter’s clients. The group would also spend time talking to people at the shelter. Beal said he’ll take away new relationships he didn’t expect to build.
“There are stereotypes of homeless people and I expected them to be down but some of them were the most positive people I’ve ever met,” Beal said.
Paige Grizzle, 16, spent one day of the trip at Bessie’s House, an organization in Northeast, that acts as a pantry for the neighborhood while also assisting the homeless in finding a hot shower. Echoing Beal’s comments, Grizzle said a lot of stereotypes were broken down for her during the service trip.
“I won’t stereotype Christians and won’t judge people because I don’t know their story,” Grizzle said.
Richard Casebolt, a partner at Eleos Coffee at 3401 Independence Ave., said the group took time to help scrape paint off of the walls next to his coffeehouse. The abandoned former restaurant is getting cleaned up to be used along with the coffeehouse as a base to assist the needy with food and clothing.
“Eleos is Greek for mercy and I believe there is good news to be told about Jesus Christ,” Casebolt said. “I enjoy serving the community.”