Students from around the country help serve the community

Published 11:28 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A student volunteer helps repair one of the two Clanton homes as part of Mission Serve project.

A student volunteer helps repair one of the two Clanton homes as part of Mission Serve project.

By Alec Etheredge | Staff Writer

Students from around the country are hard at work repairing houses in Clanton this week as they lend a helping hand to a couple of homeowners in the community.

This is all part of Mission Serve, which is a non-profit organization that is being hosted by First Baptist Church in Clanton. The goal is for them to come into a community and help repair homes for people with sub-standard housing.

“We want to open the students’ eyes to the communities because the communities they are working in are similar to the ones that they come from,” said Mission Serve project coordinator Jeremy Jones. “We just want them to be the hands and feet of Christ.”

The kids pay $250 to be a part of Mission Serve and are sleeping on the floor of First Baptist Church in Clanton, all so they can be up by 6 a.m. to work an eight-hour day and make a special impact on someone’s life.

“I just enjoy serving people and spreading Gods word,” said 23-year-old student volunteer from Georgia, Desmond Watson. “It’s about how they feel towards us as well. When you serve the community they feel that and appreciate it.”

Jacquelon Collins, one of the homeowners, had a roof that started leaking in several spots and one day, one of the spots decided to cave in and come crashing down on her daughter’s bed, leaving a huge gaping hole in her ceiling and roof.

Students are now spending their entire week focusing on Collins’ house to re-deck and put a brand new roof over her head.

The only words that a clearly happy and emotional Collins could muster up were “it’s just a blessing, there’s no other words, it’s just a blessing.”

“The most special thing I’ve noticed this weeks is the help from the actual homeowners,” said Madeline Hill. “One was actually outside helping the kids pick up trash from her yard. A lot of the times they’re elderly and can’t help do anything or they are ashamed and embarrassed so they will hide inside. Seeing the homeowners out helping with the project is what’s already made this time in Clanton so special.”

The collaboration between Jimmy Veazey, who is the Minister of Music and Education at First Baptist in Clanton, and Jeremy Jones is the main reason that this great cause is taking place. Jones is the associate pastor of families at Mt. Hebron Baptist Church in Elmore, where he at one point worked with Veazey.

“We do a great job of doing mission work all over the world in places like New York, Africa and Ecuador, but we also want to positively affect people in our own community,” Veazey said. “We have a saying ‘We like to do missions around the world, but also across the street.’ We don’t want to forget about the people right here in our community.”

They started planning it about a year ago and now have six different churches from around the country that have pitched in to help.

“Monday was our first day working on the site and we had six or seven people come by asking ‘Man how can I sign up for this and help you guys out?’” Watson said. “To have that community aspect and have people coming up and asking how they can get involved is what makes this special and the perfect way to spend my summer.”

The students will finish up their stay in Clanton on Friday and by the end of the week will have finished working on two houses in which they will have replaced roofs, siding and floors for two fantastic families.

“Mission Serve is special because they’re purposeful and intentional at reaching out into communities that people otherwise wouldn’t reach out to.” Watson said. “It’s a lot easier to do mission trips abroad because it gives you a sense of vacation and fun, with a lot of traveling, but this is coming to a neighborhood that’s right next to the projects and telling the community, hey we’re going to reach out to a community that most people wouldn’t reach out to.”