SPRINGBORO, Ohio (BP) — Two
years after sliding off a hot roof in Knoxville, Tenn. — severely breaking his
left ankle — World Changers adult volunteer Ted Smith is at it again, leading
Ohio high school and college students on an upcoming World Changers project in
Cherokee. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Although it happened back
in 2008 and my ankle’s still only 80 percent healed, I’ll never let it deter me
from getting back on a roof and being at World Changers,” said the 49-year-old
Smith, a regional sales manager for a manufacturer.
World Changers is an
intense, hands-on missions experience for students sponsored and managed by the
North American Mission Board (NAMB).
Smith traveled to Cherokee
in late April to meet with local project and construction coordinators in
preparation for July 12-17 when he and nine other adult volunteers will bring
18-20 student volunteers from Springboro Baptist Church, to Cherokee, a west
North Carolina mountain town some 400 miles away. The Springboro students will
paint, repair roofs and build disability ramps for the less fortunate — at no
cost to the homeowners.
Smith, in his ninth consecutive
year as a World Changers leader, has his reasons for devoting a week each
summer to the outreach.
“A lot of our kids are
relatively affluent by world standards,” Smith says. “We want the kids to
understand that it is God’s will for them to be on the trip, and that service
to other people and giving back is a good thing. And although they will bring a
lot of blessings to needy people, in the process a lot of the kids will wind up
getting more blessed than the people they serve.”
Smith recommends World
Changers for other adults who want to share God’s love in a practical way.
“You’re stepping out of your
comfort zone, realizing that life is about more than yourself and showing
people that God really does care for them,” Smith said.
World Changers will mark a
number of key milestones this summer, not the least of which is its 20th
anniversary. World Changers launched its first fledgling community project in
Briceville, Tenn., near Knoxville, back in 1990.
Between June 7 and July 31,
the 2010 edition of World Changers also will celebrate its 300,000th student
participant, its 10,000th church youth group, the 100th summer project in
Alabama and Georgia, the 400th house to be renovated in Casper, Wyo., and some
$2 million raised through small contributions by the thousands of students who
have participated in World Changers over the last 20 years.
That $2 million has gone
solely to fund even more NAMB ministries across North America, said Jonathan
Wilson, NAMB’s strategy development coordinator for World Changers and its
companion ministry, PowerPlant.
“We want this summer to be
one big celebration — for the 20th anniversary as well as to celebrate the
thousands of Southern Baptist churches that have partnered with us over the
years by sending their students to join us,” Wilson said. “We couldn’t have
done it without them.”
This summer, World Changers
will mobilize 21,000 student and adult volunteers to work in 85 cities on 97
projects across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Students from middle
school to college-age will pay $249 each to serve on a team that will repair
and renovate inner-city homes. Despite sweltering summer heat, students will
paint houses, repair or replace roofs, do minor carpentry and yard work.
The $249 fee covers a week’s
food, lodging, local transportation and materials. Participants provide their
own transportation to and from the project.
“Our Baptist churches have
responded in a tremendous way to the changes,” Wilson added. “They understand
we’re trying to be good stewards of our resources. Our team at NAMB works hard
at providing the best missions experience we can at the best value.”
The World Changers web site —
— is the best source for information on the ministry and this summer’s 97
projects, Wilson said.
Families on Mission
NAMB also offers the summer
group opportunity “Families on Mission,” now in its fifth year. FOM is a
five-day mission opportunity for families — mom and dad, kids and even
grandparents. It provides families with a hands-on experience of mission
projects including prayerwalking, light construction, painting, yard work,
Vacation Bible School, sports camps, block parties, acts of kindness and other
Some 800 family members are
expected to participate in one of seven FOM mission trips, including Bryson
City June 27-July 1.
For more information on
Families on Mission, access www.namb.net/fom
or call (800) 462-8657, ext. 6456.
The Baptist State Convention
of North Carolina offers a similar family on mission opportunity through N.C.
Baptist Men and Embrace.
This year’s event is June 10-13 in Minneapolis, N.C.,
operating out of the Candlestick Retreat Center.
Call Mike Sowers at (919)
459-5626 for more information.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah
is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)