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FBC Vernon youth grow, learn on missions tripscomment (0)

September 12, 2002

By Darla Brantley

Summer is always a busy time, and for five youth members of First Baptist Church, Vernon, this summer has been as full as ever.
The teenagers, along with four adults, traveled to Braden River Baptist Church in Bradenton, Fla., July 13–20. The group held a day camp at the church for children in a neighboring apartment complex.
Using Backyard Bible Club materials, the group taught Bible stories about the life of Jesus, along with music and crafts. Each day’s lesson included the plan of salvation using the Admit, Believe and Confess (ABC) method of sharing the gospel.
The group also worked during one free afternoon with Agape Flights in Sarasota, Fla. Agape Flights is a nondenominational ministry that flies supplies to missionaries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The students and adults were given buckets, brushes and soap to wash the ministry’s airplane. The group also helped wash the hangar floor.
Jeff Brantley, associate pastor and youth minister of First, Vernon, explained his purpose for organizing youth-led missions trips. “As part of discipleship, youth need to learn to share Christ with other people no matter where they live,” he said.
And Brantley has witnessed God at work in the lives of youth as they participate in the missions trips.
“Over the years, I’ve seen youth realize that God can use them to show love to people with different backgrounds from their own,” he said.
“I’ve seen teenagers step outside their usual boundaries and take on added responsibilities to minister to and disciple others,” Brantley continued.
While the trips involve hard work, Brantley tries to include something fun such as sightseeing or some local attractions. This summer the group spent time on a local beach and enjoyed shopping at a nearby outlet mall. The group also visited a wildlife park to see Florida’s native manatees.
“We include the fun things to help celebrate a good week and to show appreciation to the students for their hard work,” Brantley explained. “We also try to see something the state is famous for to teach the youth a little about the area they are visiting,” he said.
The trip to Florida marks the third annual youth-led mission for First, Vernon. In 2001, a group worked in Huntsville, Texas, holding Vacation Bible School for a recently incorporated church, leading worship services in a retirement home and helping sort food items for a charity.
While in the Lone Star State, the group toured the Fort Worth stockyards and attended a rodeo in Mesquite.
In 2000, a group worked in Warsaw, N.C., doing a backyard Bible club for children of Hispanic migrant workers and toured the famous Biltmore estate in Asheville.
The students are already discussing the possibilities for 2003.

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