United Church youth group completes mission trip

MISSION TRIP: The United Church of Big Rapids recently sent 12 members of its youth group, with six chaperones, to Chavies, Ky.,to be a part of a home repair-oriented Appalachian Service Project. (Courtesy photo)

MISSION TRIP: The United Church of Big Rapids recently sent 12 members of its youth group, with six chaperones, to Chavies, Ky.,to be a part of a home repair-oriented Appalachian Service Project. (Courtesy photo)

By Sara Daniels


United Church youth group member
BIG RAPIDS — Mission trips aren’t always to the distant continents. Twelve members of The United Church of Big Rapids youth group, along with six adult chaperones, recently spent a week in Kentucky helping others.

They traveled hundreds of miles to Chavies, Ky., deep in the Appalachian Mountains, to be a part of a home repair-oriented Appalachian Service Project.

The Appalachian Service Project has been in existence since 1969 and its motto has remained unchanged: “We accept people right where they are and just the way they are.” This saying reflects the goals of ASP — to build relationships and safer homes for the families of Appalachia.

The youth and adults from the United Church of Big Rapids certainly understood this goal. They spent a week building positive and life-changing relationships with the families living in impoverished conditions and worked hard to improve those conditions.

The United Church volunteers were split into three work teams, with two at the same site and the third group at a different site. They dug drainage ditches, painted siding, and repaired flooring, roofs and walls.

These homes, which often lacked safe and sanitary conditions or even electricity, were warmer, safer and drier after the volunteers finished, which is another primary goal of ASP. During their week’s stay, a large thunderstorm knocked out electrical power to that portion of Kentucky, so most of the work was done by hand, with hand tools.

Beyond the work they did, United Church youth were presented with the amazing opportunity to create friends with the people of Appalachia.

The Appalachian Service Project operates year-round and is always in need of volunteers and donations. For more information, visit asphome.org.

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