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First, Vernon, works with Hispanic youthcomment (0)

August 31, 2000

By Daria Brantley

Ask teenagers at First Baptist Church, Vernon, the meaning of “Cristo te ama” and they will respond enthusiastically, “Jesus loves you!” Six teens and four adults traveled to Clinton, N.C., to work with children of Hispanic migrant workers.
Directing backyard Bible clubs for these boys and girls meant planning and carrying out activities,
projects, Bible stories, crafts and puppet shows. In the afternoons, the team from Vernon visited a nursing home and two homes for developmentally disabled adults. There the youth performed puppet shows, sang solos, told Bible stories and led activity songs.
During the evenings the youth and leaders sorted clothing for Eastern Baptist Association’s clothes closet and led in worship at First Baptist Church, Clinton. They also participated in worship services at Iglesia Bautista Maranatha in Clinton, a Spanish-speaking church led by Pastor Pedro Bueno.
Bueno also helped the Vernon volunteers through the week, translating Bible stories for Spanish-speaking children at the backyard Bible clubs. 
The team worked closely with Bob Bailey, director of missions for the Eastern Association. He stressed the importance of this type of missions work: “We need all the resources we can get to reach people,” he said, indicating the rapidly growing Hispanic population of the area. “They desperately need to hear the gospel.”
Bailey also relayed Bueno’s concerns about the number of Hispanics who are not being reached. “There is not enough local work in the Hispanic communities without the help of groups such as the team from Vernon,” Bailey said.
Missions work is important for those who participate as well, he added. “It opens the eyes of people who come in.
“They see the people here and their circumstances and are able to see the people at home in a different light,” Bailey said.
Team members from Vernon learned important lessons during the week, too.
“God taught me that no matter what language you speak, love and smiles are universal,” said Gavin Hatcher, a senior this fall.
Crystal Burnett, a 21-year-old chaperone, agreed. “No matter what barriers exist, God can work through them,” she said, referring to language barriers with the Spanish-speaking children as well as the developmentally disabled adults. “They all seemed to get something out of it,” she said.

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