Concord United Methodist Church members have been on the road with mission trips to help those in need.
They have traveled as close as Lenoir City to as far as the Bahamas and North Carolina to serve others.
For instance, a group of 30 youth and adults served Bahamas Methodist Church Habitat on the Island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas during spring break, Jane Currin, CUMC director of missions, said.
“We had a cottage on the campus of the ministry we were working for,” she said. “We had four teams working. One team did five roof-patching jobs; another team worked on doors and a bathroom in a house; another put up sheet rock and painted; the fourth worked on electrical and sheet rock in the cottage to make it livable for volunteers.”
Concord UMC continued its outreach efforts with a trip to Plymouth, N.C., from June 18 through June 25, when 39 youths, ranging from age 14 to graduating seniors, and 19 adults helped repair houses and neighboring Solid Rock Holiness Church.
The mission was a joint effort with Plymouth United Methodist Church’s ministry, called Christ-ians Reaching Out in Sacred Service.
The groups again divided into work teams with each team tackling a different task, such as roofing or installing siding or handicap ramps and painting, for people who cannot afford to do the work themselves, Currin said.
“This church [Plymouth UMC] is really working to be a beacon of hope in their community in helping people with their home repairs,” she said.
The Plymouth community is economically distressed since the pulp mill, which used to hire 3,000 people, now only employs a few hundred, she said. While Plymouth UMC only has a membership of 40, it has a big building.
Currin said the church’s members decided to open up the building to host work teams, such as Concord UMC, that would make repairs in the community.
“It gets to be a very ecumenical event because we’re so large that boys stay down the street at the First Baptist Church [in Ply-mouth] and girls stay at the Methodist Church.
“We eat at the Methodist Church and we worked for Solid Rock Church.
“I think the teams are making a difference in their community, serving their neighbors and bringing in groups to help serve the neighborhoods,” she said.
“Everybody in the community knows why you’re there and that you’re working with CROSS ministries.”
“I really like mission work,” Abby Mink, 16, a Concord UMC team member, said. “I like getting to see how we can make changes in the community be-cause a lot of times we go places that really need it, so I like to see what we can do.
“It’s fun to meet the people in the community and see what kind of difference you’ve made,” she said. “The look on their faces is just priceless. You can’t find that anywhere else.”
“I think our suburban students have an opportunity to work hard — a full day’s labor — on this type of trip,” Currin said.
“They have a chance to use tools most people don’t have in their garages and they learn how to use different kinds of saws.
“We hope they learn that everybody has different needs and not all communities are as fortunate as ours,” she said.
Team members also have an opportunity to discover loving one’s neighbor applies not only to neighbors from Farragut but to another state or country, and they learn how to step outside their comfort zone, she said.
This is the third year Concord UMC’s members traveled to Plymouth. They also went in 2012 and 2014.
“To begin with, we thought we were going to do storm relief on the North Carolina coast,” she said. However, Concord UMC members talked with representatives of two or three different sites before they were able to go to Plymouth.
In the fall, Concord UMC members will take part in a gleaning retreat with Society of St. Andrew’s Harvest of Hope Mission, she said.
A team of 27 church members will travel to Georgia to pick 3,000 apples and go to Alabama to pick sweet potatoes.
Currin said gleaning is picking crops after regular farmers are through harvesting their crops. Those crops then are donated to food pantries such as Harvest of Hope, Faith Lutheran Church’s Shepherd of Hope and others.
Currin said she hopes having youth participate in mission trips and other activities such as donations will show them there are many ways to spread the love of God.