Students use summer to serve

By Madelyn Carter | Staff Writer

While most students will be hitting the pool, shopping, working, or going to camp for summer, some Johnson students will be spending some of their summer in the service of others. Summer mission trips are a great activity that students can participate in, usually as a program of their church youth groups. Mission trips aim at helping communities in need in whatever way possible.

Junior Courtney Warden will be going to Uganda in June for a couple of weeks, to a village called Gulu.

“Gulu is a community created for people who were child soldiers, orphans, or widows because of the civil war that happened there,” Warden said.

Warden’s work will encompass a variety of service projects.

“We’re building a schoolhouse for the children, and we’re going to be working in the orphanage, and just ministering to the people,” Warden added.

Sophomores Melanie Roe and Grace Anne McGinnis will be staying in the US and serving in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during July, (click here to see a Youtube video of the destruction caused by recent natural disasters in the Midwest and South).
“We’re going to do tornado relief work,” Roe said. “As of right now, we’re supposed to do repairs on roofs and replace windows.”

Sophomore Chandler Rutledge will be serving a little to the west of Roe and McGinnis in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“[My church] hasn’t actually told us what we’re doing there, but I bet it’s along the lines of playing with kids and repairing damages from Katrina,” Rutledge said.

The purposes for going on a mission trip vary by individual.

“I just felt led, whenever the [Ugandan] children’s choir came to our church,” Warden said. “I heard that there was an opportunity to go, and I just felt led to go, so I jumped on it.”

“I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip, and my sister’s been on a lot of them. I’ve never gotten to go, so when I found out we were getting to go on one I was like, ‘Yes I finally can go!’” Rutledge said.

Locations for mission trips fall in places that are a lot less developed than where most Americans live.

“I’m going to see how sheltered I’ve been. I mean, I’ve had a pretty good life,” Rutledge said. “Just seeing the poverty that other people have will just open me up, to see that I am really blessed.”

“It will puts things into a perspective for me,” McGinnis said. “It will definitely be an eye-opener.”

The outcomes of a mission trips not only help out the community that receives the service, but affects the students serving as well.

“[Mission trips] let you experience God work through you in a way that you wouldn’t experience at home,” Roe said.

Giving up some of her sweet summertime to serve others is a new thing for Warden, who’s really just looking to attend to the needs of the people of Uganda.

“I’m not really expecting to get anything,” Warden said. “I’m just going with an open heart and open mind, and I’ll see what happens.”

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