A group of teens from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church recently went on a mission trip but it wasn’t to another country.
Mission Maryville was a week-long initiative the youth and adults at the church participated in as an outreach in the community.
They did everything from leading bible school for Boys and Girls Club members in the mornings to replacing roofs, windows and flooring in a mobile home park, giving out snow cones to motorists on Hall Road, washing cars free of charge on East Broadway, taking flowers to nursing home residents and paying for people to do their laundry at two Laundromats in town.
John Freeman, associate and youth pastor at the church, said this is the second year the church has done “Mission Maryville” and the youth are excited.
“Instead of going out of town, we thought we needed to stay around here. We felt guilty about not ministering to people of our own town,” he said.
Freeman said that Monday June 21 through Thursday, June 24, the youth taught bible school for children from 4 years old to teenagers at the Eagleton Boys and Girls Club and the Parkside Boys and Girls Club and for residents at Grayson Apartments from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day
“In the afternoon, the youth did a variety of projects in the community,” he said. “We had 35 adults and 43 students from grades sixth through the 12th grade.”
Freeman said Daisy Estates off U.S. 411 South, the church had a construction crew repairing roofs and replacing windows and flooring and mowing grass. The youth gave away free snow cones in a tent situated in the parking lot of Big Lots on Hall Road in Alcoa and they had a free car wash at the O’Reilly Auto Parts on East Broadway Avenue.
“At the Eagleton Crossing Apartments and Storage and Laundry we paid for three loads of laundry. We provided detergent and fabric softener. We gave that as a gift,” he said. “We gave bottled water as a gift too. People eat this up. They loved the bottled water.”
Freeman said that at Asbury Acres Retirement and Health Center, Wellington Place of Maryville and Fairpark Health Care Center, the youth visited with residents and gave them flowers. On Monday and Tuesday, youth visited different communities in the Eagleton area and gave out 300 bags of juice and bread. “We wanted to give them a gift and Jesus talked about how he is the bread of life,” he said. “Our kids, they’re getting addicted to it. Some people thought it was strange and they looked awkwardly at us and we told them Jesus loves them. The kids are pumped. They’re getting more confident and little more bold about talking to people.”
At nights the youth and adults stayed in the church. They enjoyed dinner and a concert nightly by the band “Life Wide Open” and slept on cots and mattresses just like a conventional mission trip.
Freeman said church members are passionate about sharing the Gospel message in the community and paid the $8,000 cost in food and supplies for the week-long mission trip.
“The parents are all behind it,” Freeman said.